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ATSC Adopts Certification Mark for MH-Compliant Devices

As interest grows in ATSC mobile DTV, consumers will need an easy way to know the new gadgets that they are buying will allow them to receive these broadcasts. The Advanced Television Systems Committee (ATSC) offered a solution last week: an "MDTV" logo that will show products comply with the ATSC A/153 Mobile Digital Television (DTV) Standard.

The standards organization said [PDF] the ATSC Mobile DTV Certification Program relies primarily on self-certification by industry members. It also includes provisions for expert reviewers, independent laboratory testing and verification to assure compliance. The policy will be administered in an "open, transparent, non-discriminatory manner, available to all interested parties, whether or not they are ATSC members."

"The distinctive new 'MDTV' certification mark will help consumers find the latest mobile and handled devices compatible with the A/153 standard," said ATSC president, Mark Richer. "Common labeling and compliance with the standard will further support broadcasters' plans to roll out new services in 2010 and beyond."

While the certification mark will cover a wide range of devices—from dongles for laptops to netbook computers to iPhone accessories—it will not, as far as I can see, require specific RF performance standards. Something akin to the ATSC Recommended Practice A/74 will be needed to set a minimum level of receiver performance.

Doug Lung is one of America's foremost authorities on broadcast RF technology. He has been with NBC since 1985 and is currently vice president of broadcast technology for NBC/Telemundo stations.