Free-to-air TV services for mobile devices may not be as disruptive as some analysts have predicted, according to mobile TV chip maker Telegent Systems.
A recent report from mobile analyst firm Juniper Research predicted that growth in free-to-air mobile TV has upset the applecart and now poses a serious threat to dedicated mobile TV networks.
However, Telegent, which contributed to Juniper's research, believes that, while some impact is inevitable, the situation is not as drastic as the report suggests.
Weijie Yun, chief executive and president of Telegent, told vnunet.com that "the two technologies are complementary and that the growing use of free-to-air will help drive the adoption of paid-for mobile TV content".
Yun explained that this is because free-to-air mobile TV will whet the appetite of many users who may otherwise never consider mobile TV services.
Telegent's own research suggests that mobile TV is a 'how did I live without it?' technology, and that those who experiment with it rapidly use it more and more.
Yun reckons that many will be happy to try out free-to-air mobile TV because it needs minimal effort and investment from providers, and requires no complicated set up for fees on the side of the end-user.
This will open the door to other business models for those who want specific content delivered in a mobile-friendly way.
Yun likened this to the move viewers have already made from terrestrial TV to cable and satellite, where the majority still enjoy the free services but will dip in and out of paid-for services such as dedicated extra channels and video-on-demand.
Further adoption could be generated through coverage of specific high-profile events. For instance, Telegent found that in China prior to the last Olympic Games 43 per cent of respondents stated that they spent up to 30 minutes a day watching mobile TV, while during the games that figure increased to 58 per cent.
Yun concluded that, while these terrestrial services may dent the use of dedicated mobile TV networks, the number of people who will enter the market through these free services will largely negate or even outweigh the impact.
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