Four top consumer electronics manufacturers have joined a new mobile television forum created by the Open Mobile Video Coalition (OMVC).
The membership of Dell, Harris, LG Electronics and Samsung Mobile in the OMVC's new Mobile DTV Forum is a much-needed show of support for the technology, which is still working to gain widespread traction in the U.S. market.
"It is fitting that, as the mobile DTV industry evolves from the experimental stage into active business planning, our organization expands its membership," said Vince Sadusky, president and CEO of LIN Media and president of the OMVC. "By expanding our membership beyond broadcast companies, we hope to bring greater resources to the task of perfecting the mobile DTV consumer experience, while bringing an exciting new class of digital mobile devices to the American public."
The four charter members of the Mobile DTV Forum aren't new to mobile television. The companies all participated in the OMVC's Consumer Showcase in Washington, D.C., which found that consumers watched an average of 50 minutes of mobile television every day, with viewership peaking over the lunch hour.
The companies will work with the OMVC's board of directors as the group works to build a market for mobile television services in the United States. The OMVC is looking for additional forum members from every aspect of the mobile television market, including device manufacturers and software, service and content providers.
Devices will play a crucial role in getting mobile television services off the ground. The OMVC says there are two dozen new mobile television devices on display at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas this week, twice that of the number of devices demoed at the show last year. There are 12 mobile television stations on the air in Las Vegas for the show.
LG has introduced two new mobile television devices at CES, including a 3-D device and an ATSC-based mobile coupon service. Other devices on display include an ATSC-capable dock for the iPhone and iPad, as well as USB dongles equipped with ATSC receivers.
Dell plans to introduce new ATSC-based mobile television products "later this year," said John Thode, Dell's general manager of mobility products.
"Dell has been involved with mobile DTV since its earliest days, and we are working closely with OMVC to deliver additional mobile DTV options to consumers, who increasingly view their laptops, tablets and smartphones as gateways to entertainment," Thode said.
Samsung strategy chief Justin Denison said the company was "committed to the future development" of ATSC-based mobile television devices.
"The breadth of Samsung's handset portfolio, combined with our industry-leading display technology, will provide the best experience in mobile entertainment," Denison said.
ATSC-based mobile television services are slated to hit 20 major markets, including New York, Los Angeles and Chicago, in late 2011 through an effort by the Mobile Content Venture (MCV), a joint venture consisting of a dozen television broadcast companies. The broadcasters will offer at last two free, ad-supported channels per market.
The number of stations broadcasting ATSC-based mobile television programming has doubled to 70 over the past year but still remains a small portion of the 1,600 broadcast stations in the United States.