Virgin's first mobile TV handset sighted

The first true broadcast TV handset appears to be on track for a September launch, although the date may still slip
Written by David Meyer, Contributor

The first handset in the UK to support mobile broadcast TV has appeared in a Carphone Warehouse brochure, which quotes a September release date.

The catalogue has Virgin Mobile's Lobster 700 TV device — designed by HTC and running on Windows Mobile 5.0 — listed in the "coming soon" section.

Both Virgin Mobile and BT, whose technology will underpin the device, have been unwilling to name a launch date.

A spokesperson for Virgin Mobile declined to confirm the launch date on Thursday, telling ZDNet UK: "The date is still changing at the moment. We're looking at September but it might be a little later on."

There is also as yet no word from BT, which is supplying the content through its Movio platform, as to what programming users can expect.

The device will be the first in the UK to provide broadcast television to mobiles through the DAB-IP (Digital Audio Broadcasting — Internet Protocol) standard, which is a new extension of the popular digital radio platform DAB.

A rival standard, called DVB-H (Digital Video Broadcasting — Handheld) will theoretically provide a greater range of channels, but has been held up because the spectrum it needs isn't available in the UK.

Both standards promise a better user experience than previous efforts at TV handsets, which have been based on bandwidth-hungry 3G technology and have generally been limited to short clips.

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