Cox TV stations manage mobile DTV services with Harris and Triveni Digital technology
Cox Media Group (CMG), a founding member of the Open Mobile Video Coalition, is launching new mobile video services, based on the ATSC A/153 standard, across five of its television stations this year. They will use the GuideBuilder Mobile metadata platform from Triveni Digital to manage all mobile and fixed ATSC metadata associated with the new over-the-air channels, simplifying the internal workflow while ensuring the full range of traffic and automation system interfaces are available, and on-air metadata are correct and consistent with on-air programming.
Harris, which supplied the mobile TV platforms for Cox's terrestrial broadcasters, claims it has sold more than 40 ATSC Mobile DTV systems throughout the industry to date. The GuideBuilder platform is also one of the most-deployed PSIP metadata generator software in the industry.
Operating as an extension to existing GuideBuilder systems at the Cox stations, the GuideBuilder Mobile systems will be used to generate both accurate PSIP EPG and mobile ESG data in support of fixed and mobile DTV services.
Sterling Davis, vice president of technical operations at Cox Media Group, said the GuideBuilder Mobile operates on the broadcasster’s existing GuideBuilder platform, so it could launch the company's first mobile DTV services without significant investment in additional training or changes to the existing workflow.
The first CMG stations to launch mobile DTV services include KIRO, the CBS affiliate in Seattle; KTVU, the Fox affiliate in Oakland/San Francisco; and WSB, WFTV (fixed services only) and WSOC, the ABC affiliates in Atlanta, Orlando, FL, and Charlotte, NC, respectively.
Bob Buchholz, transmission engineer at KIRO-DT in Seattle, said there aren't many devices in the market equipped with the necessary receiver chips yet, but he’s got a prototype LG cell phone and it works flawlessly in most of the station’s coverage areas (except for obstacles like inside tunnels and behind hills). The station is using a new Harris Sigma UHF DTV transmitter with a Harris NetVx encoder and allocating about 4Mb/s-6Mb/s for the mobile channel — simulcasting its ABC Network-supplied HDTV programming, as well as its local newscasts.
“I took it home on the bus one night, and it never lost signal,” he said. “When people see the pictures in 720p, their eyes pop out of their head. I’m very impressed with the reception. It really sells itself.”
WFTV, in Orlando, FL, launched its mobile service at the end of January. The station is using a Roundbox system to broadcast its PSIP generation (known as “signaling” in mobile video terms) to enable consumers to tune into its channel. Using a Harris Sigma transmitter, WFTV is allocating about 1.5Mb/s of its total 19.3Mb/s for its mobile channel.
“Right now there’s about five mobile receiver chips in the market, but we expect that to change very soon,” John Demshock, director of engineering, said. “Signal propagation is very good, so I think mobile video is going to be a big success in this part of the country.”
Here’s a link to a video of the mobile DTV service from WFTV.
With metadata generation for mobile services tied closely to that of the broadcaster's existing fixed service, Triveni Digital said it's now possible for a facility to maintain accurate, up-to-date program information even when last-minute changes are made to the schedule. The Triveni Digital system’s mobile capabilities also include electronic service guide functionality to facilitate up-to-date scheduling and tuning. This is critical to successful deployment and a satisfying user experience.
Cox Media Group, a subsidiary of Atlanta-based Cox Enterprises, includes 15 broadcast television stations and one local cable channel, 86 radio stations, four metro newspapers, more than a dozen nondaily publications, and more than 100 digital services.