Push to promote mobile over-air TV is on


Open Mobile Video Coalition is wasting no time making the case that mobile television is one of the most efficient digital users of spectrum around and that it will be a cornerstone application in wireless media going forward. The organization, chaired by ION Media Network’s Brandon Burgess, is over 900 television stations strong.

“The key strength of any local TV broadcaster is that station’s ability to respond quickly to live events and to reach millions of viewers with a single digital broadcast transmission — a system designed to enable fast, easy, and robust reception in viewer’s homes. Now that digital TV broadcasting is going mobile, we strongly believe that Mobile DTV is a key ingredient in the nation’s drive to deliver timely news, information, and entertainment to our country’s citizens. And it’s even faster, more reliable, and more scalable than information routed through the Internet,” said Burgess.

OMVC is touting the fact that the National Broadband Plan notes its potential. The NBP states that “…emerging broadcast applications, such as mobile DTV and data casting, may provide an opportunity to take advantage of the relative efficiencies of point-to-multipoint and point-to-point architectures in order to deliver various types of content in the most spectrum-efficient ways.”

A new white paper on mobile television from IDC underscores its potential. “Mobile DTV is a cultural and technical extension of digital over-the-air broadcasting and is a spectrum-efficient technology to deliver hugely popular content,” said IDC’s Danielle Levitas. “But more than this, Mobile DTV allows consumers to also receive local channels, programming, and advertising, as well as relevant local and national news, emergency information, weather, and other alerts. Like over-the-air broadcasting, Mobile DTV easily makes possible a one to many broadcast that instantaneously can reach millions of viewers.”

45 television stations are already transmitting a mobile signal, and that number is expected to grow to 150 during the course of 2010.

Discussing mobile TV’s future, Levitas said, “We see Mobile DTV starting as a free service, delivering broadcast channels to viewers on the go. But the upside potential is even more interesting, because the technology can support subscription services to premium channels, a la carte access to other media, cached recording, localized and targeted advertising, and more – especially when Mobile DTV is paired with great mobile devices like netbooks and in-car entertainment systems.”

RBR-TVBR observation: Think back to the last emergency situation in an area you may happen to have been in. You may have tried to make a cell phone call – and failed. Emergencies tend to jam the networks. That’s one huge reason why the point-to-multipoint transmission offered by broadcasters should be protected, not diluted by the National Broadband Plan.