Talking to TVs - the new face of mobile

Talking to TVs - the new face of mobile

A world where machines within the home can share content is close to becoming a reality, with those that have the ability to offer such a solution already constructing the foundations.

Mobile technology is at the heart of the equation. Last week, Samsung Mobile VP Mark Mitchinson confirmed that the company was looking to integrate its products. He hinted of the move when he told Mobile: 'We have a clear strategy, for obvious reasons I'm not about to elaborate on this, but suffice to say more opportunities and trends are set to materialise over the course of the year.'

Samsung's converged devices strategy is also to be followed by competitor electronics giants LG and Sony.


All companies are members of a group called the Digital Living Network Alliance (DLNA), which is a standard used by manufacturers of consumer electronics to allow entertainment devices to share content over a home network.

As of August 2009, it was supported in more than 5,500 different devices and in 2008, over 200 million devices with the technology built in were sold. Motorola and Nokia are also members of the DLNA.


One manufacturer source says: 'DLNA is about linking machines in the home, such as TV and games consoles. The underpinning technology behind that is Bluetooth in mobile.'

For example, a DLNA compliant TV will interoperate with a DLNA compliant PC to play music, photos or videos.

Strategy Analytics director of connected devices Peter King says: 'What we are seeing more and more is the mobile phone being used as a remote control. It can even be used literally to change the channel on a TV.'

And we are starting to see a number of suppliers providing content for mobiles. The DLNA has set up some standards and a number of Nokia and Samsung phones are set to become interoperable with other devices within the house.

This is nothing new, says King. 'A Nokia phone could talk to a Samsung TV. There are lots of devices out there today. DLNA has been there for six years. It is now a reality - 200 million enabled devices were sold this year.'

But why is everyone doing it? 'If they don't do it, they won't sell their TVs or products,' says King.

However, consumers are not yet aware in the UK - although in Japan, this is different, says King, adding: 'There will need to be a campaign to build awareness.'

Products that can be enabled include mobile phones, games consoles, TVs, Blu-ray players, digital media players, audio systems, PCs and to a lesser extent, cameras. 'The phone is certainly a key player - DLNA is a cross-industry group,' adds King.

But for some members of the group (see below) it will make more sense than for others. Samsung, LG and Sony already manufacture many of the devices featured in the network. Sony also has 'Sony Online Service' (see box, far left), which intends to take advantage by selling content to be shared across the network. King says: 'Some may have an advantage - for Sony it makes a lot more sense. More players will also enter the mobile market. Dell and HP are having a tough time in the PC market so they are going into the internet devices market.'

Devices currently available supporting DLNA
- Hewlett Packard Media Vault home servers

- LG BD-390 Blu-ray player

- Microsoft Xbox 360

- Nokia phones: N95 8GB, N82, N95, N80,

- N93, N93i, N900 - play PC media on phone or PC (Panasonic plasma televisions VIERA Z series to G15 series)

- Philips televisions and media devices

- Pioneer amplifiers and televisions
- Samsung televisions and media devices

- Sony roomlink devices

- Sony PlayStation3

- Sony Ericsson phones: W995, W715,

- C905 - Share media with other devices on the network

- Western Digital TV Live HD Media Player

Will convergence change retail?
With convergence now a strategy across the industry, mobile retail may be set to change.

Carphone Warehouse's Wireless World format is a clear indicator that the retailer sees that mobile stretches much further than mobile phones.

However, Phones 4u has decided to continue to specialise in mobile phones, pulling back on laptops.

One source told Mobile: 'Phones 4u is a brilliant specialist retailer but if it starts to expand out it will dilute its offering.'

But with manufacturers diversifying, it might pay for mobile retailers to also expand their core offerings.

Who has read the market correctly? Carphone is not the first place that springs to mind when buying a TV, but its partnership with Best Buy may change things. Phones 4u's Currys concession also makes a lot of sense.

Sony Online Service

Late last year, at Sony's global strategy presentation, it was revealed that a premium subscription service would be added to the PlayStation Network (PSN).

This is part of a far larger vision that will see Sony try to overtake Apple's iTunes service with a common content distribution system for all its media products.

Temporarily named the Sony Online Service (SOS), the ambitious initiative aims to offer a single user experience across all its network media devices, from portable media players to large screen Bravia HDTVs. It will support a single user ID across all Sony products, all of which will have a common user experience.

The goal is to encourage consumers to buy more Sony products because of the 'enhanced value', says Sony. HDTVs, Blu-ray players, the Sony Reader electronic book, laptops, Walkman MP3 players, the PSP Go, and the PS3 are examples of devices that would use the service.

The PSN will be the basis for the entire SOS structure. According to Sony Computer Entertainment group CEO Kazuo Hirai: 'The service will be launched economically and quickly by leveraging the PlayStation [Network] service platform. For example, key assets for creating a network service management system, payment system, and content distribution system will be shared with the PSN platform so that initial investment risk can be minimised.'

With PSN as its backbone, the Sony Online Service will also attempt to expand into the company's line of mobile devices. 'The introduction of new mobile products that are network enabled will be a key part of this process, as mobile products that users turn to throughout the day will be a key entry point to this service,' says Hirai.

Written by Mobile Today
Mobile Today


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