The Open Mobile Video Coalition released a new report showing broadcasters how to take Mobile TV to a new level of functionality through transmission of non-real-time content. A standard for delivery of non-real-time (NRT) content, recently finalized by the Advanced Television Systems Committee (ATSC), broadens the scope of Mobile TV by allowing viewers to pre-load favorite shows into the memory of a mobile device for playback later, among other uses.
“This is a natural evolution of the Mobile TV standard,” explained Sterling Davis, chairman of the OMVC’s Technical Advisory Group (OTAG). “Storing programs in memory, clipcasting, digital signage, video-on-demand and micro-websites are ways for the broadcast industry to improve the array of services provided to users of Mobile TV. These are examples of Mobile TV functionality that we have outlined in the use case document,” Davis added.
Clipcasting pushes favorite content
Clipcasting would consist of short form video and audio clips, similar to podcasts, that are broadcast periodically by the broadcaster and captured in the consumer’s device. The viewer would select from clipcast services in a preference menu and be alerted when new content is available. The clips are tagged with title and metadata information. The Mobile TV standard supports the ability to do both subscription-based and advertiser-supported clipcasting, with content automatically refreshed and deleted if not played in a timely manner or when a newer version has been captured. Viewer measurement and ad targeting are also possible.
Popular clipcasting might include short segments about news, weather, radar, sports, sports scores, financial markets updates, school closings, and traffic information.
Broadcaster-delivered VOD, micro-websites and digital signage
VOD from TV broadcasters would allow the user to choose content that will be transmitted to their Mobile TV device and stored on that device for later viewing (much the same as is done today with living room viewing and on-demand services.) VOD content might include short-form videos, sports or news programs, and standard length TV shows and movies. Other content might include articles, electronic books, and even video games.
Mobile TV can also deliver data to populate micro-website pages, viewable on the portable device. Information can be broadcast to populate a station’s microsite without having to rely on traditional Internet connectivity.
Digital signage is another capability of Mobile TV, and is already being demonstrated by some broadcasters. Digital signs in public transportation can offer local news, relevant advertising, weather (including radar images), and other information delivered by local TV stations to buses, cabs, trains, and stations. Mobile TV has other applications and could even be utilized as a delivery mechanism for device software updates or to manage centralized utility or local government needs by remote transmission.
Mobile TV as emergency beacon
ATSC is now in the latter stages of standardizing how Mobile TV can be utilized for a Mobile Emergency Alert System, delivering headline overlays as warnings, rich media transmissions such as video or weather updates, and specific instructions during weather emergencies or other homeland security situations. Both the real-time and non-real-time capability of the Mobile TV standard make it an ideal adjunct to existing emergency alert mechanisms used by TV broadcasters and mobile network operators. Mobile TV could display safe evacuation routes during floods, chemical spills, and bomb threats and provide a direct link to viewers by public safety officials.
Mobile TV played a key role in the safety of millions of people during last year’s Japan earthquakes, with virtually every cell phone in Japan serving as a Mobile TV warning device seconds before the earthquake reached heavily populated areas.
Representing over 900 TV stations across the country, OMVC is a voluntary association of broadcasters whose mission is to accelerate the development of mobile digital television in the US. The OMVC is composed of 36 members that O&O over 500 commercial television stations, as well as the Association of Public Television Stations, Corporation for Public Broadcasting and the Public Broadcasting Service, which represent an additional 360 public TV stations.