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  Texas Instruments sets a low price ceiling for Mobile TV devices

First Thoughts: The most exciting thing that Texas Instruments said to us as it described its Hollywood mobile TV, is that it when it hits volume, the chip will only add $10 to the cost of existing, intelligent devices. That's a tiny bill of materials, but of course it is only true where a device already has a processor, a screen and a battery, but that can be a lot more than simply a mobile phone. And new devices that JUST show mobile TV can be built by adding a central processor and some memory.

It suggests that every PDA, every iPod-alike, every handheld games platform, every notebook, will all, automatically, chose to pay the tiny amount extra in order to make Mobile TV. Sure the owner will still have to sign a delivery contract, but the manufacturer only has to pay an extra $10 to give him that chance.And that in turn has huge implications for mobile operators. If they refuse to play ball with the broadcasters, content players and infrastructure builders for DVB-H and other datacasting services, then they will have the options of going it alone. This means that operators will undeniably lose control of these mobile TV content networks that offer mobile video and will not be able to call the shots on what is, and what is not, offered on these services unless they pile in now and partner up.

This strengthens the device makers hand and will create an entirely new breed of content organization, the mobile broadcaster. And with a concept that universal, this will mean that mobile TV will take off not in the tens of thousands, but in the hundreds ofms, and every mobile and portable device owner will be exposed to a new form of broadcast TV that could eventually rival the existing global TV networks.

Final Thoughts: Whether or not Texas Instruments takes a big market in this sector or not, will be determined by whether or not other chipmakers can sustain a profitable business offering a chip bill of materials similarly small. But as they compete for business, the additional device cost to add TV capabilities can only go down.


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