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Mobile TV Tech Going in ‘Multicast’ Direction

The mobile TV network has two new big players, Qualcomm and Crown Castle International. The mobile phone manufacturers and wireless operators are targeting the broadcasting of live TV on cell phones with major investments of time, money, and expertise.

The major difference that these two companies (through their respective subsidiaries MediaFlo (Qualcomm) and Modeo) are bringing to the process is a bypassing of the current 3G unicast transmission method in favor of a “multicast” approach, mirroring the multiplicity of signals that now emanate from television broadcast networks, rather than the singularity of signals that would be emitted through a 3G “network.”

“The economics of beaming the same signal to millions of people at the same time just doesn’t work,” said Rob Chandhok, vice president of engineering and market development for Qualcomm’s MediaFlo. “You really need a broadcast network.”

And that’s exactly what Qualcomm and Crown Castle International aim to provide. Both companies aim to get their products into the hands of existing carriers by the end of 2006. Verizon Wireless is already onlined to provide MediaFlo content to its customers.

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