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Video Side Loading vs Mobile Delivery Option

While mobile video delivery services are a hot topic with great potential, the market is very complicated, and will take quite a few more years to completely sort itself out, according to a new market study by In-Stat.

The Mobile Video Services category combines cell phones, broadcasting, Pay-TV, satellites, and the Internet.

"We've identified six competing vectors of growth that need to be understood by service operators before they make large infrastructure investments. Each geographic region is developing differently, and all technology approaches are in play," says Gerry Kaufhold, In-Stat analyst.

"The opportunities appear to be huge, but the current level of fragmentation in the industry, and in the markets, may make it difficult for anybody to reach the economies of scale required to make Mobile Video Services a truly worldwide phenomenon. We're more likely to see geographic regions developing their own local approaches, and we will even find some country-specific versions."

I believe that the growth of side-loading content -- what In-Stat refers to as Sync & Go -- is the real wild-card in this market development scenario. In particular, as more mobile phones include an open method to move content onto the device -- which doesn't utilize a carrier's network -- we should witness some very interesting innovations that will stimulate usage and growth.

Video codecs optimized for mobile devices and the decline in semiconductor memory card pricing will polarize the market into two mobile video application clusters -- content that's primarily moved onto a mobile device from a PC, and content streamed directly to the mobile device.

The implications: the addressable market for direct-to-device multimedia content delivery may be a much smaller opportunity for mobile network service providers than originally anticipated.

In-Stat's market study found the following:

- Handsets are only one way to receive Mobile Video Services. Personal Computers (PCs), Portable Media Players (PMPs), Navigation Systems, and other devices are all in the mix.

- Mobile Internet Data Services can deliver video, creating a "bypass" to Pay-TV versions.

- Disruptive approaches include: WiFi, WiMAX, WiBro, and "Synch & Go" services.

- In-Band Cellular Mobile Video services deliver good quality video, but eventually their bandwidth will become constricted in high-usage areas.

- All competing methods must still interoperate to provide a profitable mix of Broadcast TV, Premium TV, Pay-per-View TV, On-Demand Video, plus new interactivity features.

- Broadcast-Specific Overlay Networks include: DVB-H, MediaFLO, T-DMB, DVB-SH, DMB-S, ISDB-T One Seg, CMMB, and mobile versions of ATSC 8-VSB.

- The worldwide value of the equipment used by transmission sites for Broadcast-Specific Overlay Networks will have a worldwide value of about $216 million during 2011.

- China could dramatically boost this value if one of its proposed systems turns on earlier than expected.

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