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Mobile video coalition upbeat about tech trials

Mon, 04/21/2008 - 8:40am
Mike Robuck

Last week, the Open Mobile Video Coalition (OMVC) announced that the broadcast industry was on track to develop a standard and launch mobile digital television next year based on the results of recent trials.

While mobile video is currently possible through providers such as Verizon and AT&T, the coalition said that recent Independent Demonstration of Viability (IDOV) trials show that DTV-based mobile video technologies are feasible.

“We are on schedule for the 2009 rollout of commercial mobile DTV,” said Brandon Burgess, president of the OMVC and CEO of ION Media Networks. “The mobile field trials are an important milestone in setting a standard for this incredibly promising technology, and our industry is pulling together in an unprecedented way to realize the promise for broadcasters and American consumers. I’m grateful for the leadership of OMVC members and our partners and for their help in realizing the vision of mobile DTV.”

The OMVC is an association of commercial and public television broadcasters representing more than 800 TV stations, which came together last year to accelerate the development of mobile digital television.

According to the OMVC, a recent marketplace study projected a potential $2 billion annually in mobile digital television advertising revenue – if broadcasters move Quickly. The OMVC said that broadcasters need to agree on a single standard by early 2009 – which is approximately the same time that TV stations in the U.S. must complete their transition to digital-only broadcasting – and begin rolling out mobile DTV services by the end of 2009.

The OMVC has been working with the Association for Maximum Service Television (MSTV), the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) and the Advanced Television Systems Committee (ATSC) for the past six months to conduct trials for pedestrian and high-speed mobile digital TV reception.

The field trials were conducted in March and April in the San Francisco Bay Area and Las Vegas. Additional lab testing will be completed over the next several weeks. The OMVC said that it will complete the IDOV field and lab tests and have results available in time to meet the mid-May timeframe established by the ATSC.

The three systems subjected to preliminary testing and evaluation were the MPH (Mobile-Pedestrian-Handheld) system, jointly developed by LG Electronics and Harris Corporation; the A-VSB system, jointly developed by Samsung Electronics and Rohde & Schwarz; and a third system, jointly developed by Thomson and Micronas (T/M).

The next steps include more testing and consumer trials later this year using mobile TV devices.

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