Once the Nokia N96 hits the shelf it will probably be one of the first DVB-H (Digital Video Broadcast - Handheld) devices being shipped in large numbers. Not that DVB-H capable handsets haven't sold for about two years now. However, DVB-H is only available in a few European countries such as Italy, and reception is not free. Maybe it is this fact coupled with licensing issues and access to the required spectrum that prevents mobile TV from taking off?
T-Mobile and Vodafone might think just that and have decided to launch DVB-T (Digital Video Broadcast - Terrestrial) capable handsets before the European football championship this year. The advantage: The DVB-T receiver in the mobile receives the non encrypted standard digital television signal for TVs. No subscription is required and there are no doubts concerning the programming, since users know it from their TV set at home.
Note that opening up the mobile platform to receive standard terrestrial programming is nothing new. In Japan, mobile TV seems to be quite popular, maybe just because among other things, there is also no subscription required to receive the program via the 1seq, the technology used there.
Critics say the DVB-T receiver chip is likely to consume more energy than the mobile optimized DVB-H chip. That's probably true but the big question will be if it really matters...