DVB-H is supported by the world's largest handset maker, Nokia, as well as Motorola, Philips, Sagem, Sony, Ericsson, Samsung and major European cell phone operators Vodafone, O2 and T-Mobile. By contrast, Qualcomm's technology has signed up the two biggest players in the United States - Verizon Wireless and AT&T.
The European Commission said it had to order EU nations to favor DVB-H to create economies of scale and get the nascent technology off the ground.
The impact of the EU's choice is limited: EU nations can choose to avoid making decisions favoring the format and are under no obligation to eliminate other standards.
The EU cited research forecasts of a steep increase in demand for mobile TV in 2009, with the worldwide market reaching $31 billion in sales by 2011.
The Commission hopes this year's soccer European Championship and the Olympic Games will boost consumer take-up of television services over mobile phones, a potential new money-spinner for telecoms operators and broadcasters.