Qualcomm's UBM Means TV on the Go

Qualcomm announced today a dual entry into the mobile entertainment, or "TV on your phone" market: its Universal Broadcast Modem (or UBM) chip, and MediaFLO platform for streaming content to mobile devices.

The San Diego company has been a leader in CDMA development, and the UBM is designed to be a companion to its CDMA2000 and WCDMA/UMTS Mobile Station modem baseband chipsets. It promises to deliver some of the premier standards in mobile video to mass-market handsets in one chip, and supports Qualcomm's own FLO, Nokia's DVB-H and ISDB-T.

Set to launch with Verizon and AT&T, the two largest mobile carriers in the US, Qualcomm's MediaFLO, service is shaping up to be one of the first mobile TV networks. It boasts 30 streaming channels (QVGA quality, 320x240, 25 FPS) as well as 10 stereo audio-only channels, and "Clipcasting" media, or short-format video downloads.

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Qualcomm believes the mobile TV market is going to grow tremendously in the near future and these products will accelerate that growth. But it has yet to be seen if this technology will be desired -- and adopted -- by the public, since television as we know it is in a state of flux. Consumers in Asia are already getting a taste of mobile TV, but it has yet to extend into much of Europe and the United States.

Consider broadcast television, with its origins reaching as far back as 1928, finally being put to rest practically a century later. Once, this was the only way to send moving pictures into the homes of consumers. Today, with DVRs and on-demand services, network podcasting, and the myriad ways to deliver video content, there is no limit to accessibility.

The only question remains: do we really need TV in our pockets?

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