Hundreds of TV viewers in the Washington, D.C. area are soon to get their first taste of the new broadcast technology that enables viewing of favorite TV programs while “on the go” and promises to keep people connected to breaking news and emergency alerts in their communities.
For the first time, viewers will be able to watch local digital TV broadcasts on a variety of mobile devices, including specially-equipped cell phones, netbooks, portable media players, and a unique adapter that can send Mobile DTV to laptops, iPhones, and iPads. The Open Mobile Video Coalition’s Mobile DTV Consumer Showcase will begin on Monday, May 3 and continue throughout the summer in the Nation’s Capital.
Compared to video delivered over wireless Internet platforms, Mobile DTV delivers always-on video at the highest quality and the lowest cost and is never affected by network congestion. TV broadcasting is the ultimate “one-to-many” service, delivering real-time information to an unlimited number of viewers.
The Consumer Showcase will demonstrate how the U.S. digital TV system, now deployed in more than 1,600 stations across the country reaching 300 million Americans, allows each television station to simultaneously deliver a primary High Definition channel and multiple additional digital multicast channels to homes as well as multiple mobile digital television channels to “on the go” viewers.
A collaborative effort by nine Washington-area TV stations and coordinated by the Open Mobile Video Coalition (OMVC), the transmission of Mobile Digital TV signals brings the best of network and cable programming to viewers — including free over-the-air channels and subscription premium programs.
The Showcase will also feature unique consumer interactive voting and polling, interactive advertising, advanced electronic service guides for program information, and transmissions of emergency alerts and closed captioning information.
Mobile DTV devices to be utilized by consumers during the Showcase include:
* A specially modified, non-commercial version of the Samsung Moment(TM) mobile phone, which is built on Google’s Android platform, has a bright AMOLED screen great for indoors and outdoors, and is available exclusively from Sprint. The modified units, to be utilized by 200 consumers, are able to receive live digital TV with the built-in Samsung receiver chip;
* Inspiron Mini 10 Entertainment prototype netbooks from Dell equipped an HD display, Mobile DTV circuitry and reception antenna;
* Mobile Digital TV / Portable DVD Player combos from LG Electronics, which incorporate LG’s latest Mobile DTV receiver chip;
* Tivizen Mobile DTV receivers from Valups, which receive over-the-air Mobile DTV and beam it to an awaiting Wi-Fi device (allowing Mobile DTV on products like the iPad, iPhone, laptops, and other devices.)
Starting in May, the OMVC Consumer Showcase will distribute a limited number of Samsung Moment cell phones and Dell 10-inch netbooks. All of the devices come equipped with the necessary receiving and decoding capability to permit viewing of favorite TV programs while at a Little League game, on a commuter train, or even while bobbing on a boat on the Potomac. Also as part of the OMVC Consumer Showcase, consumer focus groups with the LG Mobile Digital TV/ Portable DVD Player and the Valups Tivizen Wi-Fi adapter are planned for this summer.
“The Consumer Showcase is a major milestone in the two decade-long effort by the broadcast industry to build the world’s most advanced digital television system for the benefit of all Americans. The U.S. DTV system already delivers the world’s highest quality video, and also transmits over 4,000 free television channels across the country. Now with the introduction of Mobile DTV technology, broadcasters can reach viewers not just at home but anywhere and anytime — without needing new spectrum and without needing to build new towers, The Consumer Showcase is a truly exciting demonstration of the types of services that broadcasters will deploy across the country in the next few years, bringing a new era of television to the U.S,” said Brandon Burgess, Chief Executive Officer of ION Media Networks and Chairman of the OMVC.
Nine stations transmitting more than 20 programs
The programs to be transmitted on the new service include a wide selection of free over-the-air local and network programs as well as premium channels usually seen on cable or satellite. Viewers will find:
* Local NBC programming from WRC (NBC Universal);
* Local Fox programming from WTTG (Fox) and local My Network programming from WDCA along with the Fox News Channel and the Fox Business Network;
* MSNBC, CNBC, and other premium programming to be announced on WPXW (ION Media Networks);
* Programming from Univision and additional premium programming to be announced and sent from facilities of WFDC (Univision);
* PBS Mobile and PBS Kids shows from WHUT (Howard University);
* Local CBS programming and weather radar from WUSA (Gannett Broadcasting);
* Global News and information on MHz 1, and premium programming to be announced and sent from WNVC (MHz Networks);
* CW network shows, and entertainment/music shows from This TV and TheCOOLTV from WNUV (Sinclair Broadcast Group.)
Mobile television programming will be fed to the nine stations and controlled at a new Mobile DTV Network Operations Center (NOC) situated at the studios of WUSA-TV. As part of the Consumer Showcase, tours of the WUSA NOC will be available by appointment to select members of the media.
Mobile DTV allows new audience measurement tools
Representing nearly 900 commercial and public TV stations across the country, the OMVC is conducting the four-month Mobile DTV Consumer Showcase in the Nation’s Capital to chart consumer behavior, attitudes, and expectations about Mobile DTV as well as to accelerate consumer interest and adoption of the technology and test various business models. Audience metrics will be collected and analyzed using a return channel in connected devices (such as Mobile DTV-equipped cell phones and netbooks), and market research will also include online feedback, interviews and focus groups. The Washington Consumer Showcase features multiple broadcast TV stations, various devices, local and national programming, service features such as an Electronic Service Guide, interactive services and advertising applications.
The Consumer Showcase is sponsored by LG Electronics and Samsung, two companies that also supply the Mobile DTV receiving/decoding/tuning chipsets used by a variety of manufacturers who plan to offer Mobile DTV products later this year.
In addition to local TV broadcasters, national TV content providers are also participating in the Showcase, as are transmission and encoding vendors, consumer device manufacturers, middleware companies, a wireless carrier, and leading market research firms, including:
* Device manufacturers LG Electronics, Samsung, Dell and Valups;
* Network operator Sprint;
* Global satellite operator SES WORLD SKIES, which is providing service development expertise for the Showcase;
* TV transmitter and encoder manufacturers Harris Broadcast, Rohde & Schwarz, and Thomson Grass Valley, and encoding equipment supplier Envivio;
* Equipment suppliers Nagravision and iSet;
* Middleware and Electronic Service Guide providers Expway and Roundbox;
* Component supplier Hauppauge Computer Works;
* Professional service firms Harris Interactive, Rentrak Corporation, Tribune Media Services, and RRD;
* The Television Bureau of Advertising (TVB) and the Ad Council;
* Premium TV programmers Fox Cable, NBC Universal Cable, and others to be announced.
Mobile DTV is delivered utilizing the same infrastructure as over-the-air broadcasts for home televisions, with special enhancements made to allow viewing on mobile devices. The technology has even been tested in trains moving more than 150 miles per hour, with robust reception of transmitted signals. 45 U.S. broadcast stations are already sending Mobile DTV signals and hundreds more are expected to sign on with mobile service in the coming months.
The Mobile DTV broadcast service will provide superb viewing quality (416×240 pixels with 30 frames per second video, and 48Kbps stereo audio), an Electronic Service Guide with light interactivity for voting, rating, and messaging, as well as conditional access controls and audience measurement collection.