Hollywood chip will bring digital TV to mobiles

A single processor developed by Texas Instruments will let mobile phone users watch digital television on the move

Texas Instruments (TI) announced details of a wireless chip on Thursday that will let mobile phone users watch high-definition television on their handset.

Codenamed 'Hollywood', the chip will support two emerging digital TV standards --Digital Video Broadcasting - Handheld (DVB-H), a European specification that should also be deployed in the US; and Integrated Services Digital Broadcasting - Terrestrial (ISDB-T), a similar Japanese spec.

At present, a mobile phone manufacturer would have to include three separate chips -- a TV tuner, a signal demodulator and a channel decoder. The Hollywood chip includes all this functionality.

Texas Instruments said that the chip will be able to receive a live TV broadcast at up to 30 frames per second.

"One by one, the industry's most exciting consumer electronics are being integrated into wireless handsets, allowing consumers to get their news and entertainment whenever and wherever they want," said Gilles Delfassy, TI's general manager for wireless terminals, in a statement.

"With this new chip on the cell phone, users will enjoy digital, high-quality TV in real-time."

But Hollywood is some distance away from commercial deployment. TI says it is already being trialled but manufacturers aren't expected to receive samples until 2006, leading to mass deployment in consumer devices in 2007.

There will also need to be significant advances in battery technology, as digital TV will be a big drain on a mobile's power resources.