Broadcasters target DC for mobile TV showcase


At NAB this week, the Open Mobile Video Coalition (OMVC), an alliance of U.S. broadcasters dedicated to accelerating the development of Mobile Digital Television announced that Washington, D.C. has been selected as a product showcase market for Mobile DTV technology. The OMVC further announced that Dell is joining the line-up of prototype devices from LG Electronics, Samsung Electronics and Kenwood USA, with its brand new netbook, the Inspiron Mini 10.

The consumer trial in the greater Washington, D.C. metro market, encompassing the ninth U.S. media market and surrounding areas, will go live in late summer, permitting broadcasters to showcase and test programming, services and features of the new Mobile DTV technology. The trial will help prepare broadcasters for the full commercial deployment of services scheduled for later this year. Fox Television Stations’ WDCA-DT, Gannett Broadcasting’s WUSA-DT, ION Media Networks’ WPXW-DT, NBC Universal’s WRC-DT, PBS’ WHUT-DT and MHz Networks, Sinclair Broadcast Group’s operated WNUV-DT and National Datacast are initial participants. The coalition anticipates adding more stations to the trial in the near term.

David Lougee, President, Gannett Broadcasting Group, commented, “Broadcasters recognize that the successful launch of Mobile DTV will make broadcast TV practically ubiquitous. The beauty of the technology is that all parties involved stand to profit. By establishing the consumer trial and R&D model stations, the broadcast community is essentially sending an invitation to device manufacturers: Come test prototypes, build out products and get on board this fast-moving value train that is Mobile DTV.

Four model stations – two each in Atlanta, Georgia and Seattle, Washington – will be activated to serve as extensive system test and validation markets for device interoperability. WPXA-DT, an ION Media-owned ION Television station serving Atlanta, signed on with mobile services on April 1st. Atlanta’s WATL-DT, a Gannett-owned MyNetworkTV affiliate, plus Seattle’s KONG-DT, a Belo-owned independent station, and KOMO-DT, a Fisher-owned ABC affiliate, are slated to begin full time broadcast of Mobile DTV signals this spring. These model stations will enable manufacturers to develop and test products that meet broadcaster, electronics manufacturer and consumer requirements for the projected launches and future services. Harris Corporation, Rohde & Schwarz, Roundbox, Inc. and Triveni Digital are supplying Mobile DTV transmission equipment and making available their technical expertise to the stations, which represent the nation’s eighth and 14 largest media markets.

Prominent companies such as LG, Samsung, Harris and Rohde & Schwarz have all contributed to the technology’s advancement by producing a highly efficient ecosystem for broadcasting to mobile and portable devices. These companies strive to simplify the Mobile DTV infrastructure connection points, which include acquisition content processing, encoding, multiplexing, encapsulation, modulation, network adaptation and overall system management, thus delivering services that will meet or exceed the end-user’s expectations.

Additionally, a range of prototype devices – navigation units, mobile phones, DTV-ready notebook computers, handheld digital TVs, aftermarket in-vehicle video players and MP3 players – incorporating Mobile DTV technology have been created by innovative consumer electronics makers like LG, Samsung, Kenwood, Visteon and now Dell.

21 charter broadcasters – Belo Corp., Capitol Broadcasting Company, Cox Television, Dispatch Broadcast Group, Fisher Communications, Fox Television Stations, Gannett Broadcasting, Gray Television, Hearst-Argyle Television, ION Media Networks, LIN TV Corp., Media General, Meredith Corp., NBC Universal, PBS, Post-Newsweek Stations, Raycom Media, Schurz Communications, Scripps Television Station Group, Sinclair Broadcast Group and Sunbeam Television – have committed to launching Mobile DTV services in 2009. Spanning 70 stations in 28 markets, the dedicated broadcasters will cover about 39 percent of U.S. television households. The early launch stations are comprised of 16 NBC affiliates, 10 ABC affiliates, 12 CBS affiliates, six FOX affiliates, nine ION Television affiliates, nine PBS member stations, four CW affiliates and four MyNetworkTV affiliates.