OMVC issues a primer on transmitting on-demand mobile content

The Open Mobile Video Coalition (OMVC) has released a new report showing broadcasters how to take Mobile TV to a new level of functionality through transmission of non-real-time (on-demand) content.

A standard for delivery of non-real-time content, recently finalized by the Advanced Television Systems Committee (ATSC), broadens the scope of Mobile TV by allowing viewers to pre-load favorite shows into the memory of a mobile device for playback later.

The OMVC has outlined these methdos in a new document that can be downloaded for free.

“This is a natural evolution of the Mobile TV standard,” said Sterling Davis, chairman of the OMVC’s Technical Advisory Group (OTAG). “Storing programs in memory, clipcasting, digital signage, video-on-demand and micro-websites are ways for the broadcast industry to improve the array of services provided to users of Mobile TV. These are examples of Mobile TV functionality that we have outlined in the use case document.”

Clipcasting would consist of short form video and audio clips, similar to podcasts, which are broadcast periodically by the broadcaster and captured in the consumer’s device. The viewer would select from clipcast services in a preference menu and be alerted when new content is available. The clips are tagged with title and metadata information.

The Mobile TV standard supports the ability to do both subscription-based and advertiser-supported clipcasting, with content automatically refreshed and deleted if not played in a timely manner or when a newer version has been captured. Viewer measurement and ad targeting are also possible.

Popular clipcasting might include short segments about news, weather, radar, sports, sports scores, financial markets updates, school closings and traffic information.

Video-On-Demand (VOD) from TV broadcasters would allow the user to choose content that will be transmitted to their Mobile TV device and stored on that device for later viewing. VOD content might include short-form videos, sports or news programs, and standard-length TV shows and movies.

Mobile TV can also deliver data to populate micro-website pages, viewable on the portable device. Information can be broadcast to populate a station’s microsite without having to rely on traditional Internet connectivity.

Digital signage is another capability already being demonstrated by some broadcasters. Digital signs in public transportation can offer local news, relevant advertising, weather (including radar images) and other information delivered by local TV stations to buses, cabs, trains and stations.

Mobile TV has other applications and could even be used as a delivery mechanism for device software updates or to manage centralized utility or local government needs by remote transmission.

The ATSC is now in the latter stages of standardizing how Mobile TV can be used for a Mobile Emergency Alert System, delivering headline overlays as warnings, rich media transmissions such as video or weather updates, and specific instructions during weather emergencies or other homeland security situations.

Both the real-time and non-real-time capability of the Mobile TV standard make it an adjunct to existing emergency alert mechanisms used by TV broadcasters and mobile network operators. Mobile TV could display safe evacuation routes during floods, chemical spills, and bomb threats and provide a direct link to viewers by public safety officials.