TI hedges its bets in mobile video

Paul Boughton

Texas Instruments is planning to add the T-DMB standard for mobile video to its Hollywood single chip DVB-H decoder at the same time as key partner Nokia is strident in its support of DVB-H.

Nokia has used the decoder from DIBcom in its prototype N92 phone, which combines two cameras and mobile TV and is fully supporting the DVB-H standard. The battery life is around 3 to 4 hours, and the channel switching time has improved to around 1.5s, and the retail price is rumoured to be 500 to 600 .

“With DVB-H you can have personal TV and video consumption enabled by and built on open standards in a competitive eco-system of suppliers,” said Harri Männistö , director of Watch New, part of Nokia's Multimedia Business group. “We believe this will be THE driver and it will be the user driving it.”

He sees only DVB-H as an option. “We believe it will set the mainstream of the market,” he said. “Standards will go where the eco-system will take them with the economies of scale and that's where the market will go and that's why we believe DVB-H is the way to go.”

The current implementation of the DTV1000 Hollywood chip does not support the Symbian operating system that is used by Nokia, although it is 'coming soon'. It has worked with Irish development company S3 on the DVB-H stack in the chip and currently runs on Linux 2.6.

TI is also to add support for the T-DMB standard, as the RF front end is very similar and the change is in software on the digital signal processing. TI also works closely with UK chip and system developer Radioscape on the DAB standard that is being used by BT for its Moveo mobile TV programme, and on the T-DMB, which is a variant of DAB.

It will also add antenna diversity, improving the reception and increasing battery life by taking feeds from two separate antennas and combining them.