QUALCOMM Incorporated and British Sky Broadcasting Limited (BSkyB) announced the companies have signed a nonbinding letter of intent to conduct technical trials of QUALCOMM's MediaFLO technology in the United Kingdom. Expected to begin during the summer of 2006, the technical trial will feature 10 channels of BSkyB content on a small number of non-commercial devices provided by QUALCOMM. The technical trial is intended to allow BSkyB to closely evaluate the performance capabilities of FLOTM technology, an open, cellular network-agnostic wireless multicasting technology, as it continues to explore the growing number of opportunities to deliver video services to mobile devices in the United Kingdom.
FLO technology, a multicast innovation and key component of the MediaFLO system, is an air-interface technology designed to increase capacity and coverage, and reduce cost for multimedia content delivery to mobile handsets. The BSkyB technical trial is expected to be the first such trial of FLO technology in Europe.
In addition to this technical trial, QUALCOMM and KDDI have formed a joint venture to explore the deployment of MediaFLO services in Japan. Also, MediaFLO USA, a subsidiary of QUALCOMM, is working with Verizon Wireless to deploy wireless multimedia services based on FLO technology in the United States.
"BSkyB is committed to offering customers flexible ways to enjoy our services," said Stephen Nuttall, BSkyB's group director of business development. "We have led the way in the delivery of mobile TV over existing platforms and we look forward to working with QUALCOMM in this technical trial to evaluate the potential of MediaFLO."
"As one of Europe's largest, most successful and best-known multichannel television platform operators, BSkyB is the ideal company to team up with QUALCOMM on our first MediaFLO trial in Europe," said Peggy Johnson, president of QUALCOMM Internet Service and MediaFLO Technologies. "We expect this trial to demonstrate a strong validation of the value QUALCOMM believes FLO technology offers both in Europe and other markets around the world. The openness of the MediaFLO system, as well as its significant advantages with respect to coverage, power consumption and cost, set MediaFLO apart from other competing technologies."
Engineered specifically for the mobile environment, FLO technology is intended to offer several advantages over other mobile multicast technologies, including higher-quality video and audio, faster channel switching time, superior mobile reception, optimized power consumption and greater capacity concurrently as compared to other multicast technologies. Specific performance features of FLO technology in an 8 MHz PAL channel include:
* Support for transmitting up to 30+ streaming channels of QVGA-quality (320x240 pixels) video at up to 25 frames per second, 10 stereo audio channels (HE AAC+ parametric stereo) and up to 800 minutes of distributed Clipcast content per day (short-format video clips)
* An average channel switching time of less than two seconds
In addition, FLO technology-based multimedia multicasting will complement wireless operators' CDMA2000 EV-DO and WCDMA/HSDPA cellular voice and data services, delivering content to the same cellular handsets used on these 3G networks.
The MediaFLO system is an end-to-end solution that enables multicasting of high-quality video, audio streams, Clipcast media and IP datacasting to mobile handsets. It is comprised of the MediaFLO Media Distribution System (MDS) and FLO technology. The MediaFLO system is a manageable, scalable, subscription-based distribution system and an efficient over-the-air network solution that provides wireless operators a way to cost-effectively deliver the high-quality audio and video content their subscribers desire. More information about the MediaFLO system is available at www.mediaflo.com.