Broadcasters demo "Triple Play" of new DTV services


New digital television services from broadcasters were displayed for members of Congress and Administration officials at an event on Capitol Hill yesterday.  The event also marked the switch from analog to digital broadcasting of all of the full-power television stations in the United States. ION Media Networks, other Washington-area broadcasters, and the Open Mobile Video Coalition (OMVC) showcased the latest in high-definition television and new free digital channels, and previewed the launch of mobile digital television. These services can be broadcast simultaneously from each digital broadcast station. Also participating were a range of organizations that support the digital transition for consumers and technology companies that are enabling the new generation of DTV services.

“Much of the transition has been about keeping people’s analog televisions from going dark. Now, it’s time to showcase the great new services made possible by DTV,” said Brandon Burgess, Chairman and CEO of ION Media Networks.  Burgess also is president of the Open Mobile Video Coalition, a voluntary association of television broadcasters whose mission is to accelerate the development of mobile digital television in the US.

Burgess added, “We use the term ‘Triple Play’ to highlight the new services made possible by DTV—the greatly improved picture and audio quality of HDTV; new free channels, such as qubo, our 24/7 kids channel, and now, mobile DTV. Converting all 59 of our ION stations was a major milestone, and I’m proud that ION was the first station on the air in Washington and New York with a mobile DTV signal.”

ION began broadcasting its mobile DTV signal on June 13, one day after it signed on its new Washington, D.C. digital station. It also simultaneously broadcasts its flagship channel, ION Television, in HD along with two channels — qubo, the children’s service, and ION Life, which is dedicated to active lifestyles – in standard definition.

Last week, ION EVP John Lawson demonstrated the live mobile DTV broadcast of qubo on a cell phone to the Senate Commerce Committee, which was conducting a hearing on children’s media issues.

ION’s focus on Washington, D.C. is part of a broader OMVC initiative to create the nation’s first showcase for mobile DTV in the nation’s capital, which will be launched later this year. Initial participating stations are Fox Television Stations’ WDCA-DT, Gannett Broadcasting’s WUSA-TV, ION Media Networks’ WPXW-DT, NBC Universal’s WRC-DT, PBS’ WHUT-DT, MHz Networks’ WNVT-DT and Sinclair Broadcast Group’s WNUV-DT, all of which participated in the Capitol Hill event.

Also co-sponsoring the event were LG Electronics, the NAB, the Association for Maximum Service Television (MSTV), the Advanced Television Systems Committee (ATSC), the Minority Media and Telecom Counsel (MMTC), the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) and the Association of Public Television Stations (APTS), along with manufacturers Dell, Harris Corporation, Kenwood, Roundbox, Rohde & Schwarz, and Samsung.