World Sports Events Provide a Boost to Nascent Mobile TV Market


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WORLD SPORTS EVENTS PROVIDE A BOOST TO NASCENT MOBILE TV MARKET

Technical and Marketing Issues Remain as Barriers to Growth

Taipei, Taiwan, June 15, 2006 – Major world sporting events such as the World Cup and Olympic Games will provide a boost for the nascent mobile TV market, according to presentations given on the second day of FPD Taiwan 2006.

The 2006 World Cup underway in Germany is a “breeding ground for next generation technology,” according to Joey Chan, a Greater China marketing manager for Philips Semiconductors. For example, Finland, Germany and Italy all launched mobile TV services in time for the World Cup. The next big boost will come in 2008 with the Beijing Olympics.

However, Chan warned that there were still technical and marketing challenges to overcome before mobile TV becomes mainstream. “Everybody knows it will be a big market, but we don’t know how big,” he said.

Some analysts estimate that by 2009 there will be 50 million mobile TV users worldwide.

One of the key technical challenges is standards. There are various competing broadcast standards, with DVB-H being one of the most widely used. More than 30 countries are conducting DVB-H trials. In particular, the world is watching what China does given that it is the world’s largest mobile phone market. “Whatever standard they choose will dominate, or they may develop their own standards,” said Chan.

After the personal digital assistant (PDA), the smart phone and camera phone, the next logical step for handset makers are TV phones, according to C. Stone Shih, CEO of Dawn TV Technology. “There is high expectation that it could be the next killer application in the telecoms business,” he said.

Another challenge is whether consumers will pay for mobile TV content. The results of a trial conducted in Finland in 2005 found that 41 percent of people would be willing to pay for mobile TV services. During the trial, users spent an average of 20 minutes a day watching mobile TV. Shih said the technology has the potential to change consumer habits. Instead of reading the newspaper over breakfast, consumers of the future may watch their mobile TVs.

When mobile TV does take off, it will be boon for manufactures of small size flat panel displays. In 2005, more than 1 billion mobile handset displays were shipped, according to market research firm iSuppli.

Glass demand for small LCD applications will grow from 55 million square feet in 2005 to 80 million square feet in 2007, according to Corning. Mobile phones with color displays are the primary driver in this market segment, experiencing 30 percent a year unit growth compared with 13 percent growth for the digital camera display segment, according to Corning.

While mobile TV looks set to be a future killer application, it doesn’t end there. “This industry is going to initiate and spawn many, many new applications that you or I haven’t even thought about,” said Nitin Kulkarni, president of Corning Display Technologies Taiwan. “This is going to be a huge growth industry going forward.”

FPD Taiwan 2006 runs June 14 to 16 at the Taipei World Trade Center, Taipei, Taiwan.

SEMI is a global industry association serving companies that provide equipment, materials and services used to manufacture semiconductors, displays, nano-scaled structures, micro-electromechanical systems (MEMS) and related technologies. SEMI maintains offices in Austin, Beijing, Brussels, Hsinchu, Moscow, San Jose (California), Seoul, Shanghai, Singapore, Tokyo and Washington, D.C. For more information, visit www.semi.org.

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Scott Smith/SEMI US
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