Mobile TV sets broadcasting trend
Nokia, along with six other companies, is trialing mobile TV on its handsets in Finland.
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HELSINKI, Finland (CNN) -- From checking your e-mails, or listening to music, to making home movies, you might think your brand new mobile phone model does everything you need it to, and more.
But if that is the case, then 500 Finnish people are already one step ahead of you -- they are part of a trial testing mobile television on their phone handsets.
From real-time news, to sport and fashion, the Helsinki-based trial is a testing ground for on-the-go TV-watching, and one that could revolutionize broadcasting.
For one of the testers, Sari Koskela, viewing live television on a mobile phone has made her daily journey to work on the city's tram system a lot less boring.
She works for TeliaSonera, a Finnish mobile phone provider and one of the seven companies behind the trial, which began in March.
Koskela says the quality of images is clear and she enjoys having the ability to watch television broadcasts while she is on the move.
Mobile phone manufacturing giant Nokia, along with MTV and broadcasting company YLE, are among those throwing their weight behind the project.
Nokia vice president Richard Sharp is leading the project for his company.
He told CNN he believes there are several occasions where people might want to watch mobile television, including commuting.
"One of the experiences I had was the European Cup final in the football. I arrived at Helsinki airport and took a taxi from the airport to the hotel and was able to watch the exciting football match all the way to the hotel, so that was an example of mobile TV and a really good experience," he said.
Any time that involved waiting could effectively be used to watch television if it the broadcasts were readily available on mobile phone handsets, Sharp told CNN.
"It could be a waiting time when you're waiting to catch a bus or a train. It could be when actually commuting. It could be when you're taking a break from work. It could be at any time when there's something you must see on TV but you're away from a TV," he said.
"But you can watch a mobile TV. But in all those instances, it's shorter viewing time. It's not sitting down and watching a movie, we don't see that as the main use."
Despite the limitations, Nokia is convinced there is a market for Mobile TV and that the company's technology, digital video broadcast handheld (DVBH), will give the viewer choice and flexibility.
TeliaSonera development manager Pekka Pesari told CNN the companies behind the trial were still unclear about how much customers would be willing to pay for the service, one of the things that needs to be finalized before mobile TV becomes a commercial reality.
If the trial proves a success and the service goes commercial in Europe, then it may alter viewing habits and change the way programs are produced.
Executive vice president of MTV Media, Mikko Raisanen, told CNN the Finnish broadcaster MTV was already gearing up its content for this new medium.
"Typically, I think this kind of piece of equipment would be suitable for even a three-minute soap series. You have a short break, and then you go back to business," he said.
"Then of course if you think about sport, nobody would like to watch a full hockey game, as you couldn't see the puck, if you have the alternative to not seeing it at all then you might watch it but I'd vote for getting the highlights."
With at least four other technologies to rival Nokia's DVBH, it's not guaranteed that the Helsinki experiment will pay off for the consortium members.
But Nokia's weight is still enough to attract broadcasters -- including CNN -- keen not to miss out on the potential of the mobile TV market.
CNN's Jim Boulden contributed to this story.
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