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Wireless Utopia

The journey towards a free wireless world.

QC Media

Monday, March 27, 2006

An article on QC's Media FLO in Business Week. Qualcomm has spun off Media FLO as a seperate unit and its behaving like more of a Media Company than a technology one. The marketing pitch of Media FLO is no doubt impressive. The industry is betting big on the ability to watch TV programs on your handsets. The skeptical are pointing out that the screen is too small and the sound system too primitive for it to give any serious competition to the idiot box. But everybody admits that a streaming TV on the mobile can be very useful for people on the move. Personally, if I would love to watch all the cricket matches that I miss in office, on my mobile!

As a technology, Media FLO is very impressive as well. The FLO stands for Forward Link Only. Since the idea is to broadcast the signals to all the mobiles, the Base stations will act as the Terresterial TV towers. The Gold version uses OFDM modulation for transmiting the data. The platinum version never actually took off. The idea is to multiplex the OFDM channels on the forward link of EVDO (the pilot bursts are still CDMA) and then use soft combining at the mobile to build up the streaming video packets. A very complex technology which will require manual replacement of the hardware at the base station. Since QC is rolling out its own network, that should not be a problem at all.

Maybe the deployment will mark QC's entry into the Service Provider's market as well as its debut at a media company. A big gamble for a well established company to take. But with the change of guard at the helm, such things are expected.

Previous Post: QC's Halo.

Update: A word of caution from analysts.

Tags: QC Media FLO EVDO OFDM
posted by Rajiv, 11:39 PM

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