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TV in your hand

Software puts pay-per-view TV on your PDA or mobile

Special video-imaging software that turns mobile phones and PDAs (personal digital assistants) into mini TVs will be available to mobile users as early as 2003.

Content provider MVI today announced the launch of its bandwidth management software which enables full streamed video at 25fps (frames per second) at bandwidth as low as 25Kbps (kilobits per second) over all GPRS networks. This means users can watch actual TV footage on their handheld devices.

GSM networks transmit information at around 9Kbps, occasionally increasing to 14Kbps — fine for sending or receiving short emails, but way too slow for audio and visual files. GPRS, however, currently has a transmission speed of 28 to 56Kbps. In the future, 3G connection speeds could reach up to 114Kbps.

"MVI has delivered over 2.5G networks what many people thought could not be done until the introduction of 3G," said Gerrard Williams, CEO of MVI. "The MVI system is network and device agnostic and does not require the download of software or specialised chips in the phone at point of manufacture. This is pay-per-view TV in your hand."

MVI's software package includes a comprehensive authoring tool, its own compression process and a proprietary integrated player. These features are totally standalone, negating the need for a downloaded player or chip to be installed in the receiving device.

The technology is currently being tested over O2's Xda and HP's iPaq handhelds. Its availability will be extended over more devices early next year.

MVI is in talks with several content providers to develop 30 channels of sport and entertainment by Christmas next year. Users will be able to view the MVI content site and can be alerted via text message when new clips are online.

The company has thus far raised £1m to fund the project but is now looking to raise a further £6.5m from external investors.

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