The electronics giant will partner with Crown Castle Mobile Media, which owns certain broadcast spectrum rights and plans to launch a mobile broadcast network in the U.S. in 2006.
“The ‘third screen’ is happening now already on a worldwide basis,” said Ben Bajarin, analyst with Creative Strategies. “The issues from the consumer standpoint are the limits,” with both the current data networks and the emerging broadcast networks able to offer only a certain amount of content due to technological and/or licensing restrictions, he added.
The Philips initiative is a direct broadcast signal that is sent to the subscriber, which differs from how U.S. users currently get TV on cellphone. Content for networks such as MobiTV on both Sprint and Verizon travels over existing data networks.
Fifty percent by 2013
Philips has been a longtime proponent of mobile TV viewing; semiconductor executives there said earlier this year that they expect more than 50% of handsets worldwide will come with TV capability by 2013.
The newest chipset is its first all-in-one broadcast solution for wireless handset makers; Nokia is testing the chips in Europe, but Philips did not reveal who will use the U.S. chips.
Competing chipmakers such as Texas Instruments and Qualcomm also have announced plans for broadcast phone chips. Qualcomm, in fact, announced a similar all-in-one chipset solution two weeks ago. That chipset uses a different standard that Qualcomm said Verizon will use for real-time broadcasting; no launch date has been revealed.
Just a few months ago, some detractors said wireless phone screens were too small and the services potentially too expensive. But Apple’s video iPod and success with TV-show and music-video downloads seem to have stilled those protests.