Mobile video standard accelerates


The Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) is moving to get manufacturers involved in working with broadcasters to get hand-held mobile devices into the hands of consumers. Its new committee will complement the ATSC, whose work on the standard is on a fast-track.

CEA announced establishment of a new “Special Interest Group” to address the mobile/handheld application for digital television, which will allow broadcasters to move beyond the living room and deliver DTV to people on the move. The Advanced Television Systems Committee (ATSC) has been hard at work on a standard for the DTV mobile/handheld (M/H) technology, with a rollout of actual devices expected to begin in 2009.

“CEA is organizing this Special Interest Group for ATSC M/H to assist the consumer electronics community in understanding the technology and market dynamics. CEA is excited to work with members to accelerate this innovative extension to our DTV system,” said Brian Markwalter, CEA Vice President of Technology and Standards.

The new CEA group will support the launch and growth of mobile digital TV in North America by fostering industry dialogue, educational programs, and unified messaging; and by promoting the development and use of technical standards and best practices documents. The Special Interest Group for ATSC M/H will discuss the fundamentals of the standard, facilitate discussions with suppliers of technologies specified by the standard and arrange meetings with groups such as the Open Mobile Video Coalition (OMVC) to understand the broadcaster perspective. The OMVC, CEA noted, was formed by US broadcasters, representing more than 800 TV stations, to accelerate the development and rollout of mobile DTV services.

OMVC applauded the move by the electronics manufacturers’ group. “Yesterday’s creation of a Mobile DTV Standard Group by the Consumer Electronics Association is a strong signal that we are very close to a full-fledged market for digital mobile television. We expect the CEA’s recognition of the potential and maturity of mobile DTV technology – coupled with the ATSC’s commitment to approve an M/H standard — to further accelerate the development of handheld devices, content and other applications. Consumers are even closer to having real-time, full-motion broadcast television on mobile and handset devices,” said OMVC President Brandon Burgess, who is Chairman and CEO of Ion Media Networks.

RBR/TVBR observation:
We became believers back in April when we heard Motorola say it would have devices in the market come February. The manufacturers want to sell hardware and broadcasters have the content which will drive this market. Just as soon as the final ATSC standard is set in stone, the electronic components can be completed for devices which have already been designed. This really is coming in 2009.