Texas Instruments have just announced they will be building a single chip that will that will allow cell phones to receive digital television broadcasts over a wireless network.
Currently if a mobile phone manufacturer wanted to do this they would have to include three separate chips – a TV tuner, a signal demodulator and a channel decoder, but the TI chip, codenamed “Hollywood”, includes all this functionality already. “Hollywood” will support two emerging digital and open TV standards for the wireless industry – the European, DVB-H (Digital Video Broadcasting – Handheld); and the Japanese Integrated Services Digital Broadcasting – Terrestrial (ISDB-T).
Texas Instruments say that the chip will be able to receive a live TV broadcast at up to 30 frames per second, twice the rate that some of today’s top notch phones display video clips.
While the chip is already being trialled, manufacturers probably won’t receive samples until 2006, pushing commercial deployment to 2007.
It’s unclear if users will watch TV on a tiny mobile screen. Furthermore, it is not yet known which mobile phone manufacturers will provide the phones, although Nokia, who announced last year that they are going to put television tuners into all their cellphones, (having already done so with the 7700) could be a contender.
A time might come when we forget what the mobile phone is really for. We’ll be so busy playing music and video games, taking photographs, or watching TV that receiving a call will become an irritating nuisance.