Mobile DTV is the hot topic in Las Vegas


Television broadcasters and device manufacturers spelled out rapid deployment plans for mobile video at a Monday morning session of the NAB Show. “These are tough times, so we are making sure that the ROI is very high,” said John Eck, President, NBC Television Network.

Fox Business News anchor Liz Claman kicked off the session by holding up a palm-sized LG receiver on which she was watching Fox News as part of the multi-station mobile DTV demonstration taking place this week in Las Vegas.

In addition to the plan to establish a Mobile DTV showcase in Washington, DC announced Monday, the Open Mobile Video Coalition is preparing to do advanced tests of mobile devices it two markets, with the Gannett and Ion stations participating in Atlanta and theBelo and Fisher stations participating in Seattle.

“I think things are moving very quickly,” said Fisher CEO Colleen Brown, so she said it is important to get a handle on the technology.

Some 70 stations in multiple markets nationwide are committed to first-round deployment of Mobile DTV. Any fears that they would be broadcasting to no one have been put to rest. Consumer electronics companies are rapidly rolling out devices to receive the programming.

The newest announcement was the Dell has entered the field. James Clardy, Technology Strategist, Mobile TV, Dell Inc. was on hand to show a 10-inch “Netbook” that already has multiple antennas included for Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and mobile broadband. “Adding a TV receiver to this class of product is very economical,” he said.

LG already has three models of receivers for mobile DTV, ranging from a cell phone to larger models with keyboards. Bob Rast, MPH Project Leader, LG Electronics also noted that the company is going into mass production with integrated circuits for mobile DTV in June which will be made available to the entire consumer electronics industry. 

“Development is full-speed ahead,” said John Godfrey, VP of Government & Public Affairs, Samsung Electronics. He noted that the mobile DTV standard also includes interactivity, so that will open new business models for broadcasters.

Broadcasters were enthusiastic about the prospect for new revenue streams from making their programming available on mobile devices. Negotiations are underway, of course, with the networks to broadcast their content, as well as the news and other content from local stations. OMVC President Brandon Burgess, CEO of Ion Media Networks, noted that the multiple channels offer an opportunity for cable networks to enter the mobile broadcast realm as well. The economics would have to be worked out, but he called it “very synergistic.”