Mobile TV nearing big-market debut


Eight stations in Washington DC are about to kick off the brave new world of mobile television broadcasting. They will be joined by 22 additional stations in four additional markets as local broadcast television makes a major play for a bigger slice of the media audience pie.

According to the New York Times, 30 stations in all are set to unveil the new service, beginning in April. The other kick-off markets include Los Angeles, Chicago, Atlanta and Seattle.

Stations must invest $75K-$150K for the equipment necessary to deliver the mobile signal. Viewers will have equipment options ranging in price from about $120 to about $250, according to NYT. Platforms vary, including dedicated mobile TV receivers, laptops and smartphones. Mobile TV-capable cell phones are in development. The devices will generally have a range of 60 miles from the broadcast tower location.

RBR-TVBR observation: Imagine how valuable this technology will be the first time there is any kind of municipal emergency, large or small. The ability of broadcasters to bring local content to a large portion of the local population simultaneously is one of the things that make the medium unique. The rapid development of new methods to make it available to more people in more different places must be allowed to proceed, which is why the FCC should be conducting its broadband bandwidth search in some other swathe of spectrum.