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David Williams
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David Williams
Global Director of Sales, Research
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Mobile Internet Video: Focus on the Format
As mobile phone operators seek new revenue streams to offset a drop in their cash-cow telephony business, many are banking on new mobile data services, particularly video entertainment. Numerous delivery strategies are emerging. One approach allows subscribers to download or stream video content from operator portals, where content is prepared in formats that can be read by supported handsets. Another enables users to download or stream video content directly from the Internet. While the latter approach gives users access to vastly more video content, it can also give them major headaches when it comes to finding the right media format to view the content. Delivering video to mobile devices still poses some challenges.

Unlike the PC market, which is dominated by two operating systems Windows and Mac OS X the mobile sector has several operating systems, some of them from the individual handset manufacturers. Size, processors, and power are other factors that technology companies must consider when developing rich applications, such as video, for mobile devices.

To help overcome these constraints, the mobile phone industry has collaborated to create its own media format: 3GP. 3GP is a format standardized by the 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) and 3GPP2 for the creation, delivery, and playback of multimedia content. It was designed to decrease the storage capacity and bandwidth required to deliver video and other rich media over 3G networks to mobile devices. 3GP uses a simplified version of the MPEG-4 compression standard, tailored to the unique requirements of mobile phones. YouTube gave 3GP a huge boost with its decision in January to support the format, and four of the other top five online video sites are said to have plans to follow YouTube's lead.

Although 3GP will be a widely supported format in the mobile video market, it will continue to face competition. With so much commercial potential at stake, leading technology companies such as Microsoft and Adobe will continue to pour money into developing innovative solutions for the mobile video market. Moreover, in the not-so-distant future, 3GP could be seriously challenged not only by Internet mainstay Flash, but also by the delivery technology WiMax.

This report examines the media format war that began in the online video-to-PC market and its impact on the emerging mobile Internet video market. It explores the role of the mobile-specific 3GP format and the challenges it faces from other formats and wireless technologies, including WiMax. The report details the key technological and economic factors driving carrier interest in mobile Internet video, and it identifies and analyzes the key technology suppliers now shaping this sector.

Sample research data from the report is shown in the excerpts below:
Table of Contents (uni0208_toc.pdf)
3GP uses a simplified version of the MPEG-4 video compression standard tailored to the unique requirements of mobile phones, storing video streams using the MPEG-4 Part 2/H.263 standardized video codec and, more recently, the MPEG-4 Part 10 AVC/H.264. The H.264/AVC codec represents the latest developments in video coding, offering a total compression rate half that of H.263 for similar perceived quality. The following table shows the efficiency gains offered by newer compression formats compared with the MPEG-2 video compression standard.
[click on the image above for the full excerpt]
Companies profiled in this report include: AdMob Inc.; Adobe Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: ADBE); Akamai Technologies Inc. (Nasdaq: AKAM); Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL); Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT); Motorola Inc. (NYSE: MOT); Nexage Technologies USA Inc.; Nokia Siemens Networks B.V., a joint venture of Nokia Corp. (NYSE: NOK) and Siemens AG (NYSE: SI; Frankfurt: SIE); PacketVideo Inc., a subsidiary of NextWave Wireless Inc. (Nasdaq: WAVE); RealNetworks Inc. (Nasdaq: RNWK); and YouTube Inc., a subsidiary of Google Inc. (Nasdaq: GOOG).
Other companies featured in this report include: Alcatel-Lucent (NYSE: ALU); AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T); Ericsson AB (Nasdaq: ERIC); Google Inc. (Nasdaq: GOOG); Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd.; Nortel Networks Corp. (NYSE: NT); Qualcomm Inc. (Nasdaq: QCOM); Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. (Korea: SEC); Sprint Nextel Corp. (NYSE: S); T-Mobile International AG & Co. KG, a subsidiary of Deutsche Telekom AG (NYSE: DT); and Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ).
Total pages: 19
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