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Mobile emergency alert gets the word out via mobile TV

ATSC Mobile DTV is about to provide a new way to reach the masses with emergency messages, and in a way that makes perfect sense for a new generation of mobile-TV viewers. For years on network television, emergency messages have been a way to cut in and reach a wide audience with important info. But in the last several years, many viewers are not sitting in front of their TVs — they are on the go and mostly tied to mobile. With more and more viewers watching television on mobile devices, there needed to be a way to send out important emergency messages.

That is where M-EAS, or Mobile Emergency Alert System comes in. LG Electronics, along with partners PBS and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, has begun rollout testing of M-EAS to select areas. Alabama Public Television stations WBIQ (Birmingham), WAIQ (Montgomery), and WGBH Boston and Vegas PBS (KLVX) in Las Vegas are all working to run this new system through the paces, along with partners Roundbox and Harris.

LG explains that this new system can go beyond simple tones and text scrolling to include media-rich images and video, highlighting items such as weather, news and critical local information. These could be local and national emergency scenarios and can include detailed information such as maps and even anchor transmissions.

As network bandwidth increases, the opportunity for rich and detailed information can increase in density, and providing full information can be the key difference in guiding consumers to safety in case emergency situations arise. The service is now undergoing testing in these markets, and LG is hoping for a wider rollout as the year progresses.