Video set to explode on mobile phones

Fuelling rise of MPEG-4 video codec

User-generated video content and the rise of video sharing sites like YouTube are fuelling demand for MPEG-4 functionality on mobiles, according to a report published today.

iSuppli says that there'll be 509 million phones with MPEG-4 (H.264/AVC/MPEG4 Part 10) video playback by 2010, a rise of 206 per cent from 2005. The total market for video capable mobiles by 2010 is put at 1.9 billion, a rise of 13.6 per cent from the 836 million such phones in 2005.

"MPEG's greatest opportunity will be found in the mobile-phone market, where consumers' desire for superior video quality has become a driving force for mobile-phone features and differentiation," said Rick Sizemore, who covers multimedia content and digital advertising at iSuppli.

"With YouTube and other user-generated content sites serving as the distribution vehicle, and with content being generated spontaneously by mobile-phone users, the MPEG market is set to undergo accelerated growth in the coming years," Sizemore said.

iSuppli points out that the rise of MPEG-4 on mobiles is part of a wider consumer technology trend. The video codec can also be found on digital TV set-top boxes, digital TVs, portable digital audio-video players (like the iPod and iPhone), video games consoles, DVD players, digital video recorders and camcorders.

The analyst group went on to say that MPEG-4 was popular with network operators because it was "bandwidth stingy" compared to MPEG-2, and therefore ideally suited for use with wireless environments.