19 October, 2005

TPS, Bouygues and Orange start DVB-H test

On Monday, satellite and ADSL platform TPS, mobile operators Bouygues Telecom and Orange, began their DVB-H (Digital Video Broadcasting – Handheld) experimentation. The trial, on channel 37 in Paris, is to last for 9 months, to a panel of 400 subscribers, 200 from each of the two participating mobile operators. Some of them are also TPS subscribers.
Manufacturer Sagem has developed the terminal for this operation. Called "Sagem My MobileTV, it is an adapted version of an existing Sagem telephone. It has a larger than usual screen and also provides access to Bouygues' i-mode service and the Orange World portal.
The testers have access to a bouquet of nine channels, to be extended later on. Interactive services and a programme guide are also to be added later on.
The test uses MPEG-4 H264 compression, believed to be a world first for DVB-H.
TPS is supplying the channels in the form of the compressed multiplex, which is then sent on to TDF transmitters at the Eiffel Tower and four other transmitters in the Paris region.
I never cease to be amazed of the use made by such high tech.
While some people are moving to bigger screens with better definition, others (or are they the same?) are watching TV on a titchy screen on the move.
I wonder whether some people will be using their phone to watch a different channel while in the same room as the rest of their family. And paying through the nose for the priviledge.

10 April, 2005


At first glance, the Ozone project looks like an associative alternative to the telecoms boys. In fact, it is an attempt by a small company, working as a normal business, to take on the telecoms boys.
It is quite clever. It provides unlimited broadband Wi-Fi access on the move in Paris for 18 euros a month, using a network of linked antennas. The alternatives are either to look for free hotspots (in MacDonalds and some cafes, or unsecured access points) or to pay through the nose to the likes of Orange.
Ozone are offering free access to people who let Ozone set up a wi-fi antenna on their roof, with a connecting into their appartment. You get free broadband and the feeling of belonging to a community to boot.
But when you think about it, this comes to renting out access to your rooftop for just 18 euros a month.
The next stage will come soon. Ozone are planning to launch a mobile phone using VOIP via Wi-Fi. But Orange/SFR/Bouygues are hardly shaking in their boots. The success of Ozone depends on getting enough people to sign up, both for access and to lend their roofs.