Nokia Mobile TV Headset Launches

The company's headset works with Nokia's N8 smartphone and allows (for now, European) users to watch TV without the Web.

As mobile phones continue to offer consumers the ability to watch streaming audio and video, handset makers like Nokia are working to combat issues such as wireless availability and other download issues that can turn the entertaining process of watching video content a nightmare.

Nokia's Mobile TV Headset, DVB-H, allows users to turn their mobile device into a portable television. Anywhere there's mobile DVB-H (Digital Video Broadband - Handset) coverage, users can tune into TV shows and watch them without needing an Internet connection. The company claims DVB-H technology is also less draining on the handset's battery than other Web TV solutions are.

The headset handles call reception and volume in a similar way to other mobile headsets, so users don't miss calls while watching content, and it also features keys for changing channels and music controls for the player on your handset. There's an app called Mobile TV available for compatible handsets, which is either pre-installed on compatible devices or it can be downloaded from the Ovi Store. Users can also download the application via the company's Web site, a Nokia release noted.

The Mobile TV Headset works with the forthcoming Nokia N8 and other Symbian^3 devices that come with the USB-on-the-go (USB OTG) feature. It is expected to cost ?ö?®??40 (about $50) before taxes and will appear in the fourth quarter of this year. "One word of caution. While it is expanding, DVB-H coverage is still patchy in many countries," the release noted. "Licensing issues and lack of frequency availability have stalled many projects, though there do appear to be working services in the Netherlands, Russia, New Delhi and Helsinki, for example. Check carefully with local dealers before you buy."

DVB-H is one of three prevalent mobile TV formats. It is a technical specification for bringing broadcast services to mobile handsets and was formally adopted as European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI) standard EN 302 304 in Nov. 2004. The major competitors of this technology are Qualcomm's MediaFLO system, the 3G cellular system based MBMS mobile-TV standard, and the ATSC M/H format in the U.S.

Time slicing technology is employed to reduce power consumption for small handheld terminals. IP datagrams are transmitted as data bursts in small time slots. Each burst may contain up to two megabits of data, including parity bits. The front end of the receiver switches on only for the time interval when the data burst of a selected service is on air. Within this short period of time a high data rate is received which can be stored in a buffer. This buffer can either store the downloaded applications or playout live streams.

The Nokia N8 handset offers a 12-megapixel camera with a Carl Zeiss optics and Xenon flash, the ability to record high definition videos along with the ability to edit them on the move, the Dolby surround sound tech and the dedicated Web TV application. Also included is an HDMI connector, 3.5-inch HD capacitive touchscreen, 16GB of built-in storage that's expandable to 48GB with a microSD card and free walk and drive navigation.

The handset's USB OTG allows for devices that generally fulfill the role of being a slave USB device (which might be, e. g. digital audio player or mobile phone) to a USB host (usually a desktop or notebook computer) to become the host themselves when paired with another USB device.