OMVC concludes technical trials


The Open Mobile Video Coalition (OMVC), the major broadcast industry consortium representing over 850 commercial and public TV stations with a mission of advancing mobile digital broadcast technology, has concluded Independent Demonstration of Viability (IDOV) trials for proposed digital mobile/handheld technologies.

The IDOV trials for proposed digital Mobile/Handheld (M/H) technologies were conducted in close cooperation with engineering experts from the Association for Maximum Service Television (MSTV).

The OMVC report concludes that mobility for digital broadcasting in compliance with existing ATSC DTV standards is viable.  The IDOV trials demonstrated full-motion mobile DTV at pedestrian and highway speeds; they also showed that mobile reception can be achieved as much as 40 miles from the transmitter, and that mobile DTV does not interfere with the regular FCC-compliant primary digital television broadcasts.

Responding to a request for a broadcast industry perspective, the OMVC Technical Advisory Group, led by Sterling Davis of Cox Broadcasting, has submitted an extensive report to the Advanced Television Systems Committee (ATSC) for its M/H digital television (DTV) standard-setting process.  The IDOV trials and the OMVC recommendation are crucial milestones in enabling mobile DTV as a major consumer benefit of next year’s digital broadcast transition.  OMVC recommends that ATSC maintain momentum by quickly setting an open mobile DTV standard in time for the federally mandated digital broadcast transition in February 2009.

 “Growing collaboration on the mobile broadcast TV vision promises further consumer value from the transition to digital broadcast television,” said Brandon Burgess, President of the OMVC and CEO of ION Media Networks.  “In only nine months, we have facilitated broad-based industry collaboration, putting us on track for a mobile ATSC DTV standard in time for the February 2009 digital transition.”

The OMVC also applauded last week’s agreement between LG and Samsung, the providers of the two leading ATSC-compliant mobile DTV systems submitted for the IDOV trials. Following LG and Samsung’s collaboration, and in response to a request for a broadcast industry perspective, the OMVC Technical Advisory Group submitted an extensive report to the ATSC for its mobile/handheld DTV standard-setting process.

 “Agreement on a standard takes our industry to the next level in the development and rollout of products and services, and the OMVC remains fully committed to the ATSC’s current planned schedule of adopting a final standard by July of 2009,” said Anne Schelle, Executive Director of the OMVC.  “Next we’ll be focused on consumer trials with the goal of realizing mobile DTV for consumers as soon as possible.”

The OMVC initiated the IDOV trials at ATSC’s request to assist with the technical information needed to adopt a standard for mobile broadcast technology.  ATSC is the recognized standard-setting body for this technology.  Laboratory and field trials were conducted during February, March and April of 2008 in the San Francisco Bay area and Las Vegas.  OMVC worked with MSTV to conduct the trials, and participating television broadcasters volunteered the use of their facilities.  More than 140 hours and 1,000 miles of mobile data were collected across the two trial areas.

As ATSC moves toward finalizing technical specifications this summer, the OMVC will continue to assist with incorporating broadcasting industry considerations into the technical framework.  In addition, the group will conduct consumer trials later this year in an integrated collaboration among OMVC, LG and Samsung.  Further details on these trials will be announced in coming months.

After the ATSC Candidate Standard is approved in October, the group will work toward pursuing full standardization and product development to reach the ultimate goal of introducing commercial mobile DTV services to the consumer marketplace in 2009.  Bringing products and services to market in this timeframe will enable broadcasters to meet consumer demand for mobile DTV and improve utilization of their digital TV infrastructure investment.

Anne Schelle is the Open Mobile Video Coalition (OMVC) Executive Director