04.06.2007 12:00 AM
Harris and LG/Zenith Officially Announce 'MPH' DTV Technology
Harris Corp. and LG Electronic's Zenith subsidiary officially announced on April 3 their technology to allow mobile, portable and handheld reception of ATSC signals. They are calling the technology MPH, for "mobile, portable, handheld." Earlier news releases called the technology by its code name "Eagle." Harris and LG will be demonstrating the technology in the ATSC Hot Spot at NAB2007 in Las Vegas and also offering mobile demonstrations similar to those offered by Samsung at CES 2007 earlier this year.

Dr. Jong Kim, president of LG's Zenith R&D Lab, said, "We believe broadcasters will appreciate both the superior performance and unparalleled flexibility of our MPH system."

Tim Thorsteinson, president of Harris Broadcast Communications said, "The results of our joint development with LG Electronics are in response to our customers' interest in a compelling, in-band mobile solution. The versatile, robust MPH system is the first that strikes the right balance for broadcasters looking to deliver both high-definition programming to fixed receivers and standard-definition programming and datacasting to mobile and handheld devices."

The announcement said the system offers "backward compatibility with the existing ATSC 8-VSB transmission and receiving equipment."

It also allows burst transmissions to permit power savings in handheld receivers, flexibility in trading off data rates for robustness, and the use of practical, small handheld receivers without the need for multiple antennas. Samsung's prototype receiver at CES 2007 had two antennas, but given the short distance between the antennas, it's questionable how much diversity performance they really provided.

LG and Harris have been very reluctant to release any technical data on the system. I had a chance to see it demonstrated at Zenith and was very impressed by the performance. I expect more information on performance, especially in comparison with the Samsung/Rohde and Schwartz A-VSB system, will be released at NAB.

Its great to see two major companies competing to offer the best solution for what I've seen as a critical issue for the survival of free over the air TV--wireless DTV reception anywhere without the need for a cable or satellite hookup. The market isn't limited to portable and in-car TV sets--both Samsung and LG sell a large number of cell phone handsets. Perhaps "free TV" (and perhaps some pay TV too) could become the next product differentiators after MP3 players and cameras!


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