WRAL in Raleigh N.C. demonstrated last week the first commercial station test of a new mobile EAS system designed to transmit emergency messages with multimedia content to receivers that decode mobile signals. M-EAS moves beyond the current standard of emergency text messages, and ushers in a new wave of detailed information that is designed to provide rich media information to viewers and could ultimately save lives.
M-EAS would enable broadcasters to provide video, graphics, audio and photos. The system works over the broadcast TV transmission band, so it can reach millions of viewers in one swoop. It does not rely on cell phone data plans, cell towers or even internet access, and the reach is extensive, moving to digital TV set-tops, tablet computers, cell phones and many other mobile devices. The catch is that the device must be able to decode mobile DTV signals that are carried in the ATSC-M/H format.
M-EAS is currently being standardized and will become part of ATSC-M/H standard. When the standardization process is complete, hardware vendors and broadcasters can incorporate it into their products and services and viewers will gain the benefits of multimedia-enabled emergency messages.