NAB 2008: Broadcasters Detail Mobile-DTV Progress
Say Technical Standard Will Be Ready to Go Next Year
By Glen Dickson -- Broadcasting & Cable, 4/14/2008 3:56:00 PM
Las Vegas -- Roughly 500 broadcasters gathered at the 2008 NAB Show here early Monday morning to discuss the prospects for delivering television signals to mobile devices using their existing digital spectrum and, according to executives actively involved in field trials of mobile-digital-TV technology, the industry should have a new standard for mobile DTV in place by next February.
National Association of Broadcasters president David Rehr was on hand to applaud the efforts of the Open Mobile Video Coalition, a consortium of more than 800 local TV stations that has been working to help the Advanced Television Systems Committee create a mobile-DTV standard. Rehr said mobile DTV represented a unique opportunity for local stations to grow their business, which is why the NAB has been lending the OMVC its financial support.
“Just imagine having live television on 345 million devices,” he added. “That would be awesome, and it’s going to happen.”
NBC News chief legal correspondent Dan Abrams then led a panel discussion of top broadcast executives involved in OMVC, which included ION Media Networks president and CEO Brandon Burgess; John Eck, president, NBC TV Network and Media Works, NBC Universal; Lynn Beall, executive vice president, Gannett Broadcasting; and Alan Frank, NAB Television Board chairman and president of Post-Newsweek Stations.
They proclaimed that recent field trials in San Francisco and Las Vegas have been going well, and that the OMVC is prepared to deliver a report on the trials to the ATSC by mid-May, meeting a key deadline within the standards-setting process.
The OMVC has been testing mobile-DTV systems from LG Electronics/Harris, Samsung/Rohde & Schwarz/Nokia and Thomson with the goal of proving their real-world viability to deliver mobile-DTV signals in urban markets. The LG/Harris and Samsung camps are demonstrating their systems in bus rides here at NAB. (To watch a demonstration of LG Electronics/Harris' MPH system, click here.)
“We’re here to share good news with you today,” Burgess said. “We are on track to have the technology ready for mobile DTV in time for the 2009 digital transition.” (To watch a video interview with Burgess, click here.)
Media General Broadcast Group senior VP Jim Conschafter presented a report on mobile DTV’s business potential, which BIA Financial Network has estimated could result in $2 billion of additional advertising revenue by 2012.
Cox Broadcasting VP of engineering Sterling Davis gave some detail on the field trials, which have shown viable reception at a range of 40 miles from the transmitter, driving at highway speeds, without interfering with existing broadcast signals.
Executives also discussed the programming prospects for the new service, which could be offered on a free advertising-supported basis or could wind up being a pay TV platform. Whatever the business model, Frank said, the content is likely to reflect broadcasters’ existing strengths.
“We know they want live news, traffic, weather and sports and all of the great programming that we already provide,” Frank added.
For complete coverage of the 2008 NAB Show, click here.
OMVC Stops short of declaring the new standard for Mobile TV: NAB 2008
The Open Mobile Video Coalition, has announced its intention of selecting one out of three technologies which will be uses by their members to transmit mobile TV along with the ATSC transmissions. The three technologies which will be finally evaluated include the ATSC-MPH ( Mobile Pedestrian Handheld) promoted by LG and Harris, A-VSB by Samsung and ATSC Mobile TV technology by Thomson and Micronas.
The clear declaration of intent by the association of over 800 broadcasters in USA under the OMVC forum heralds a bright future for mobile TV. The stations will defacto transmit local content for mobile TV in addition to regular DTV ( ATSC) transmissions. This is expected to provide a uniform standard for the technology in USA and greatly increase penetration as well as subscriber base.
With Verizon already planning Mobile TV services using MediaFLO technology and AT&T expected to do so by May 2008, it is likely that almost all mobiles will progressively support reception of Mobile TV. 3G based Mobile TV services are also available ( e.g. Sprint TV, MobiTV & others). Content differentiation will be the key factor in driving each of these services.
Amitabh Kumar - 4/17/2008 4:18:00 AM EDT
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