Harris Gains Mobile-DTV Foothold in Latin America

Guatemala, Costa Rica to use ATSC-based solution following adoption by Albavision.

Broadcast-equipment vendor Harris said the mobile-digital-television technology it developed for use by U.S. broadcasters was already adopted by Latin American broadcaster Albavision, even before it was ratified as an official standard by the Advanced Television Systems Committee.

Harris signed a deal with Albavision (Angel Gonzalez Group) to implement its full mobile-DTV system for Albavision’s broadcast operations in Guatemala and Costa Rica -- Radio Television Guatemala and REPRETEL in Costa Rica. Albavision will be the first broadcaster to deploy the Harris mobile-DTV platform in Latin America.

“Radio Television Guatemala and REPRETEL have existing Harris ATSC transmitter installations and have been broadcasting in the ATSC standard for more than one year,” said Juan Pablo Alviz, chief technology officer of Albavision, in a statement. “Therefore, we are very excited to take the next step and be the first broadcast operation in the Latin American region to broadcast to mobile devices using the new Harris mobile-TV platform. The new proposed ATSC-standard capability will allow us to integrate our current high-definition infrastructure and the capacity of mobile television without the need to incur a major investment.”

The Harris system is based on MPH (Mobile Pedestrian Handheld), the mobile DTV transmission technology that LG Electronics, Zenith and Harris unveiled in the spring of 2007 with the hopes of it becoming the ATSC standard. It also incorporates technology from Samsung, which had previously been competing against Harris with its own A-VSB (Advanced-Vestigial Sideband) system but then reached a deal to cooperate with Harris in May when it appeared that U.S. broadcasters favored MPH.

The complete Harris mobile-DTV-transmission platform is expected to be available in November, allowing U.S. stations to begin testing the system in advance of its likely formal ratification as an ATSC standard sometime next year.