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In world of convergence, mini-TVs get legs

by Staff Writers
Las Vegas, Nevada (AFP) Jan 8, 2008
In the world of multifunctional electronics, mini-TV sets are getting new life in smart devices being developed that make video mobile.

Among the devices unveiled at this week's Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas is a pocket-sized mobile TV by Motorola that can play live TV, on-demand clips and programs saved on a digital video recorder.

"We'll have everything in an all-in-one device: images, video, GPS (global positioning system), media player, and television," says Motorola's Ebin Ephrem, who expects the gadget to be commercialized in Europe within six months.

The Motorola device, one of several mobile TVs on display in Las Vegas, is interactive, allowing users to program their home networks to record a program, for example.

Some devices are integrated into smartphones, while others may be used in cars.

Finnish maker Nokia and Franco-American group Alcatel-Lucent have their own mobile TVs. Nokia's smartphone-TV has been on sale since 1995.

One problem for makers is the varying technical standards, with DVB-H or Digital Video Broadcasting Handheld officially in use in Europe, but other standards in use elsewhere.

South Korea's LG is expected to launch in 2009 its Mobile Pedestrian Handheld capable of receiving digital television signals using US technical standards. This would enable people to watch live TV in cars travelling at speeds of up to 90 kilometers (55 miles) per hour.

Samsung, another Korean manufacturer, is working on another technical standard called A-VSB for its mobile TV devices.

The LG and Samsung devices would have an advantage of receiving live television directly on their devices without the need for new frequencies or relays.

In the US, Qualcomm's system called MediaFlo is in use by mobile operator Verizon, which has signed up eight broadcast networks for mobile. Verizon allows users with new hand-held devices from LG to have the functionality of a mobile telephone, GPS device, music player and mobile TV.

US-based Sling Media, a unit of satelite broadcaster EchoStar which offers consumers a device allowing them to manage TV broadcasts, has unveiled a system allowing people with smartphones to watch TV programs.

While the notion of TV on mobile devices has been around for some time, it remains unclear how quickly it will catch on.

Outside the South Korean market, few consumers use the technology frequently. But research firm Datamonitor predicts that 155 million subscribers will boost mobile TV viewership by 2012, up from four million currently.

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Sharp unveils ultra-sensitive touch-screen LCD
Tokyo (AFP) Aug 31, 2007
Japan's Sharp Corp, a leading producer of liquid crystal displays, on Friday unveiled a new LCD system equipped with an ultra-sensitive touch screen.

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