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NTT Docomo announces first devices compatible with Nottv, Japan's new mobile TV service

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Japanese carrier NTT Docomo has announced the first devices to support its new Nottv mobile TV service.


NTT Docomo has announced the launch of the first two devices to support Nottv, a new mobile TV standard due to start broadcasting in Japan on April 1st. The Sharp Aquos SH-06D is a dual-core smartphone running Android 2.3, with a 4.5-inch 720p 3D display and an 8-megapixel camera, and the NEC Casio Medias Tab N-06D is an LTE-ready Android tablet with a 7-inch 1280 x 800 display.

Mobile TV is popular in Japan, with a large number of devices supporting one-seg, the current broadcast standard. Nottv is the result of a collaboration between Docomo and several Japanese media companies which will offer three high-quality (720 x 480 pixel) stations. It uses spectrum vacated when analog TV stopped broadcasting in Japan last July and will cover 73 percent of the population at launch, expanding to 91% in 2014. The service will broadcast programs from traditional stations alongside original shows and content from overseas broadcasters. In addition to the three live stations, Nottv offers "clipcasting" which sends media such as ebooks, applications, and video clips directly to devices without using Docomo's cellular network. Smartphones and tablets supporting the service will be able to share live broadcasts with TVs and other large-screen devices via Wi-Fi.

Although modern cellular networks are more than capable of streaming HD video to devices, doing so generates a huge amount of data traffic — Cisco recently predicted that streaming services will account for 71 percent of global mobile data usage by 2016. Nottv reduces the strain of mobile video from Docomo's core network, and like terrestrial TV, is all one-way traffic, meaning it will never face network overload is a non-issue.

Qualcomm tried something similar in the US with its MediaFLO technology, which came to market a few years ago branded as FLO TV. Despite backing from both AT&T and Verizon, and a large selection of channels on offer at launch, the service ultimately failed and Qualcomm's spectrum is now the backbone of AT&T's LTE network.