Schueppert’s Predictions, McCann’s Law & much more in Dublin

6 March 2006

More than 200 people gathered in Dublin last week for DVB World 2006. The scene was set with a thought-provoking keynote presentation from Michael Schueppert, president of Modeo, the company that will begin rolling out nationwide DVB-H services in the USA this year. This speech kicked off six sessions covering just about everything that’s topical in the world of DVB at the present time.

Schueppert’s presentation was based around his ten mobile TV predictions. We summarise them here – perhaps they’ll be worth re-visiting at DVB World 2007.

Michael Schueppert’s 10 Predictions for Mobile TV

1. DVB-H will be the most  widely adopted mobile broadcast standard globally.  MediaFLO will also succeed.  Mobile broadcast standards based on DAB (DMB, DAB-IP) or CDMA (MBMS, BCMCS) are dead-ends.

2. Modeo will not be the only operator to deploy DVB-H using L-Band spectrum.

3. Two media formats will be used for mobile TV: Windows Media & MPEG4. It is technically, politically and commercially impossible to harmonise these formats.

4. Competing Electronic Service Guide formats (CBMS, OMA, OAI) are unnecessary and unhelpful.  These will be harmonized during 2006.

5. Podcasting, or cached delivery of media files, will be an integral part of mobile TV.  All devices should support these services – this will probably require: implementation of file delivery protocols (FLUTE) and application layer FEC (Raptor); inclusion of about 1GB of memory and/or SD card slot; ability to receive two services in parallel.

6. Consumers will watch mobile TV using both cellphones and other devices (portable media players, laptops etc.).  Cellphones will be the largest device segment, but will only represent 50% of the total market.

7. In 2008, more Americans will vote for the winner of “American Idol” than will vote for the President.  Almost all of them will use their cellphone to register their vote.

8. The youth market (18-35 year olds) will be the dominant segment for mobile TV.

9. By 2009, every major TV brand will launch a made-for-mobile version of their channel.

10. Technology battles are a side-show: the most interesting battle brewing is between content owners and wireless carriers for control of mobile TV.  The outcome of this battle will be largely determined in spectrum auctions between 2006 and 2008.
Left: Michael Schueppert (Modeo); Group (L to R): Markus Lindqvist (Nokia), Phil Laven (EBU), John Cullen (O2).

Day 2 of DVB World began with an excellent session titled “Moving on with Mobile TV”, with session chair Prof. Ulrich Reimers presenting an overview of the full set of DVB specifications for mobile TV and IP Datacast. One of the undoubted highlights of the session was a presentation by Arqiva’son Mason detailing the challenges facing anyone trying to build a DVB-H network. He expressed a belief that UHF spectrum would be the best place for DVB-H services, but stressed that this would require an early and coordinated response from regulators. As mentioned above, Michael Schueppert along with other delegates suggested that L-band is at least as good a proposition for DVB-H. Daniel Sauvet-Goichon of TDF shed some much needed light on the spectrum allocation problem with an overview of the RRC06 process and the expected digital dividend.

Thursday afternoon saw lively discussion following the presentation by Via Licensing’s Helene Jay of the revised schedule of licensing terms for MHP broadcasters. Attendees representing both public service and pay-TV broadcasters, as well as some manufacturers, made it clear that they were unhappy with the proposed fees. For more details of the announcement made in Dublin visit

Friday’s session turned the spotlight on HDTV against a background of service launches around Europe this year and increasing discussion on whether such services could take advantage of technology improvements to be delivered via terrestrial networks. Ken McCann (ZetaCast), in an informative presentation on audio and video coding for HDTV, reminded delegates of his eponymous law, first stated at DVB World 2002: “Bit-rate required to achieve a given audio or video quality halves every five years”. However, he went on to urge broadcasters not to scrimp on bitrates in delivering HD. This, he said, would only result in HDTV gaining a bad name customer expectations on picture quality were not reached and exceeded.

Bringing DVB World 2006 to a close, David Wood of the EBU welcomed the opening day opportunity to hear about developments in digital broadcasting around the world. He also mentioned the clear progress that has been made by the DVB CPCM group since they presented their work the previous March, and drew attention to Thursday afternoon’s interesting debate on the delivery of DVB services in an on-demand world. The proceedings of the conference are available on CD-ROM from conference organisers the International Academy of Broadcasting.

Undoubtedly the most treasured possession delegates to DVB World 2006 took home was the certificate declaring their expertise as an Irish whiskey taster. Whether they remembered much about Wednesday night’s visit to the Old Jameson Distillery is another question entirely!!

Eoghan O’Sullivan – DVB Project Office