Mobile video candidate standard adopted


The US television industry is on the fast track to implement mobile video in 2009. The Advanced Television Systems Committee (ATSC) has adopted a candidate standard for TV stations to deliver video to mobile and hand-held devices using their same DTV spectrum. The Open Mobile Video Coalition (OMVC) hailed the move, saying broadcasters will be able to move ahead to launch services and manufacturers can develop products for commercial deployment in 2009.

“The OMVC is thrilled to have advanced through a critical phase in our fast-moving progress toward launching full mainstream mobile DTV in 2009. This crucial vote will allow OMVC members to continue their service development with added direction and focus,” said Anne Schelle, OMVC Executive Director. “We would also like to applaud the ATSC Technology & Standards Group (TSG) for meeting an aggressive standard-setting timeline,” she added.

The Mobile DTV Candidate Standard has been designed to meet broadcaster requirements and meet the objective of launching viable, consumer-facing mobile DTV services in 2009. The technology uses existing broadcast spectrum allowing a mobile stream to be broadcast within a station’s digital channel without interfering with existing multicast and standard-definition or high-definition program services. In addition to being able to provide a simulcast broadcast of programming, the standard’s flexible system architecture supports a variety of business models offering limitless convenience opportunities based on interactivity potential, like location-based services, advertising and sell-through transactions, and advanced features such as Push on Demand, Digital Video Recorder, Pay-Per-View, programming guide and extensible storage. Relatively inexpensive transmission facility improvements will allow broadcasters to extend its programming reach to a vast audience of new viewers – anywhere, anytime, at any speed.

For electronics manufacturers and automakers, the Mobile DTV Candidate Standard serves as a baseline draft of an end-to-end system specification, and its Candidate Standard status signals that the time for device development is now. The OMVC anticipates that consumer electronics industry players will find a wealth of opportunities for new devices and applications in today’s mobile consumer lifestyle.

The robust and flexible ATSC Mobile DTV Candidate Standard supports over-the-air delivery of real-time and non-real-time digital broadcast content and data services to next-generation devices, such as cell phones, laptop computers, handheld PDAs, portable media players and gaming devices, plus a variety of automotive opportunities, ranging from factory-installed in-vehicle entertainment systems to dealer-installed and aftermarket entertainment systems and GPS systems enriched with local broadcast receiver capabilities. The OMVC has plans for extensive interoperability testing and trials in various markets nationwide in the months to come.

"ATSC Mobile DTV will allow broadcasters to leverage the wireless and local nature of their DTV transmission" said ATSC President Mark Richer.

"The combination of live television and interactive capabilities on mobile and handheld devices is an essential element for the future success of over the air digital television," said Glenn Reitmeier, Chairman of the ATSC Board of Directors. "The architecture of the Candidate Standard will make terrestrial broadcasting an important segment of the Internet,” he added.

"The ATSC’s decision to elevate the Mobile DTV specifications to Candidate Standard is an important milestone that not only validates, but also furthers, the advancement of Mobile DTV in the United States. This new Candidate Standard will enable broadcasters to launch services and will also allow device manufacturers to move forward with product development to ensure this emerging industry will have a successful commercial deployment in 2009,” said Brandon Burgess, President of the OMVC and Chairman/CEO of Ion Media Networks.

The move was also applauded by NAB. "Broadcasters deliver the highest-rated and most compelling programming of any video platform, and bringing our content to new mobile devices is a chief objective of NAB. Today’s announcement represents a tremendous step forward for our viewers and the entire broadcast television community,” said NAB President and CEO David Rehr.

RBR/TVBR observation: We have been believers of mobile DTV becoming a reality in 2009 since last year’s NAB convention in Las Vegas, when Motorola was touting a device that was essentially ready to go into production – all that was needed was the ATSC standard so the electronics could be finalized. This is going to be a major new business for local television stations – and it may not take many years to become so.