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ATSC adoption of mobile DTV standard to usher in new broadcast era

The Advanced Television Systems Committee adopted the A/153 ATSC Mobile DTV Standard last week with overwhelming support from the members of the ATSC.

The new standard defines the technical specifications broadcasters need to deliver service to mobile and handheld devices via their DTV transmissions. "Development and adoption of the ATSC Mobile DTV Standard is a major milestone in the ongoing evolution of digital television," said ATSC President Mark Richer in a press statement released Oct. 16.

ATSC Mobile DTV is built around a robust transmission system based on VSB modulation, with enhanced error correction and other techniques to improve robustness and reduce power consumption in portable receivers. The transmission system is coupled with a flexible, extensible IP-based transport system, MPEG AVC (ISO/IEC 14496-10 or ITU H.264) video, and HE AAC v2 audio (ISO/IEC 14496-3) coding.

The Open Mobile Video Coalition, a group of more than 800 broadcast stations supporting development of mobile DTV, released a statement following the ATSC adoption of the standard congratulating the ATSC for its standardization efforts. “With adoption of the ATSC Mobile DTV Standard, small-screen versions of [broadcasters ’ HD] programming and other services also will now be available over mobile devices,” said Brandon Burgess, president of the OMVC and CEO of ION Media Networks.

Adoption of the standard will allow local broadcasters to advance efforts to deliver local TV news and entertainment to viewers, said Association for Maximum Service Television President David Donovan. “Today marks the beginning of a new era in digital television broadcasting,” he said in a statement. “Not only will this provide a new venue for watching local news and sports, it will crate a critical platform for emergency communications.” According to the OMVC, new mobile DTV services can include emergency alerts customized by market and location.

The group also envisions the new technology providing live audio feeds, datacasting with traffic maps, closed-captioning, “clip-casting” sports and news highlights that could be stored in memory on a device, “push” VOD for future viewing, time-shifted television, mobile digital video recording, interactive polling, electronic coupons, targeted advertising and an electronic service guide for ease of tuning.