Mobile DTV Has Arrived

If last year's NAB Show saw mobile DTV as starting to come together, with an ATSC mobile standard in the formative stage and a few technology demonstrations to mull over, at the 2009 NAB Show, mobile DTV has arrived.

"Consumers want to utilize mobile devices to follow news and sports, as well as local, regional and national emergency announcements and other content that they have come to expect from their local television stations," said NAB President and CEO David Rehr. "The roll-out of mobile DTV will give them the opportunity to experience all of those benefits."

First and foremost in mobile DTV's evolution from last year, the Advanced Television Systems Committee (ASTC) has approved the Candidate Standard for the technology, which provides television broadcasters a technical scheme to deliver TV content and data to mobile and handheld devices utilizing a small portion of their 6 MHz DTV channel.

The new standard supports over-the-air delivery of digital broadcast content to next-generation devices such as cell phones, laptop computers, netbooks, handheld PDAs, portable media players and gaming devices.

It also extends a variety of automotive opportunities, ranging from factory-installed in-vehicle entertainment systems to dealer-installed and aftermarket entertainment systems, as well as GPS systems enriched with local broadcast receiver capabilities.

The flexible system architecture supports a variety of business models offering limitless convenience opportunities based on interactivity potential like location-based services, advertising and sell-through transactions, and advanced subscriber features such as Push On Demand, Digital Video Recorder, Pay-Per-View, programming guide, interaction channel support and extensible storage.

Broadcasters were quick to respond to the formal adoption of a standard. The Open Mobile Video Coalition (OMVC), an alliance of U.S. commercial and public broadcasters, reports that over 65 stations in 25+ markets, covering more than 35 percent of U.S. television households are already committed to deliver mobile DTV services in the current year.

As part of the Broadcast Management Conference, the OMVC holds its open-to-all session "Mobile DTV: The Power of Broadcast on the Go!," Monday, April 20, 7:30 a.m. Judging by last year's standing-room-only crowd, an early arrival may be necessary to get a seat.

Interest in the subject should come as no surprise, as an estimated $2 billion in additional revenue will come to broadcasters via their mobile DTV businesses.

The OMVC session will update attendees on the latest information about broadcaster and device manufacturer commitments to mobile DTV, affordable transmission facility improvements, and the robust system layers.

Broadcasters who have committed to putting stations on the air this year will have their questions regarding equipment, suppliers and capabilities answered as the coalition demonstrates the full-range, business-to-business mobile DTV ecosystem.

"This year's NAB Show will bring together solution providers for the entire mobile DTV value chain from content and interactivity, to encoding and metadata, to multiplexing and emission. The infrastructure is in place and will be on display for the first time," said Anne Schelle, OMVC Executive Director. "We are re-imagining the wireless experience for consumers, providing a first-class TV viewing experience."

In addition to OMVC's own booth on the exhibition floor, mobile DTV exhibits will also be seen in the ATSC Pavilion in the floor's Content Central, where they will showcase technologies that will enable broadcasters to provide quality digital broadcast services.