NAB 2009: LG Commits to Mobile DTV Chips

Will begin mass production in June
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NAB 2009: Complete Coverage from Broadcasting & Cable
Raleigh To Be First Real-World Mobile DTV Market 

LG Electronics, which with Harris Corp. is the primary developer of the mobile digital TV (DTV) technology that broadcasters want to use to transmit their signals to mobile phones and other portable devices, announced Friday that it will begin mass production of mobile DTV receiver chips in June.

The company's LG2160A is a commercial chip designed for mobile DTV receiving devices from various manufacturers. It provides mobile/handheld demodulating and equalization functions and outputs IP packet streams to enable audio/video decoding in the receivers compatible with the emerging ATSC Mobile DTV Standard, which is expected to be formally ratified by early third quarter. It features an automatic power saving mode to maximize battery life for cellphones and other mobile DTV-viewing devices.

"My colleagues and I are proud of the key role LG is playing in the development and implementation of mobile DTV, which we regard as a ‘win-win-win' technology for broadcasters, equipment manufacturers and especially consumers," said LG President and CTO Dr. Woo Paik in a statement. "America's broadcasters have placed mobile DTV on a fast track, and we at LG will continue to do everything we can to support and advance their efforts."

LG and ATSC will be demonstrating a number of mobile DTV prototypes that use the new LG chip at the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) show in Las Vegas next week, including handheld TVs, mobile phones, automotive systems and notebook computers.

The move was hailed by broadcasters, who announced at the CES show last January that they intend to launch mobile DTV this year on more than 60 stations in 22 markets, covering an estimated 35 percent of U.S. television households. WRAL, the CBS affiliate in Raleigh, N.C., has already started mobile DTV broadcasts that are being received by one of that city's commuter buses equipped with a mobile DTV receiver and video displays.

"Broadcasters welcome LG's chip initiative, which will bring mobile DTV one step closer to marketplace availability," said NAB President and CEO David Rehr in a statement. "Mobile DTV is an exciting new technology that ensures that in the digital age, viewers can continue to count on over-the-air broadcasting as their most reliable source for local news, weather, traffic and emergency information, even when they're outside the home and on the move."

Ion Media Chairman and CEO Brandon Burgess, who is president of the 800-member Open Mobile Video Coalition (OMVC), also voiced his support for LG's commitment to chip production.

"Starting chip production in June means that our aggressive timetable will proceed on pace, and shows how much can be accomplished when broadcasters and consumer electronics manufacturers work cooperatively toward a common goal," said Burgess in a statement.