Broadcasters demo triple play of new DTV services on Capitol Hill

Members of the Open Mobile Video Coalition (OMVC), a group championing mobile services from local stations, demonstrated several new digital television services being proposed or now offered by broadcasters for members of Congress and administration officials at an event on Capitol Hill last week.

Brandon Burgess, chairman and CEO of ION Media Networks and also president of the OMVC, said, “We use the term ‘triple play’ to highlight the new services made possible by DTV — the greatly improved picture and audio quality of HDTV, new digital [sub]channels, and now, mobile DTV.”

ION began broadcasting its mobile DTV signal on June 13, one day after it signed on its new Washington, D.C., digital station. It also simultaneously broadcasts its flagship channel, ION Television, in HD along with two SD channels; qubo, a children’s channel, and ION Life, which is dedicated to active lifestyles.

Burgess said converting all 59 of its ION stations was a major milestone, and was “proud that ION was the first station on the air in Washington and New York with a mobile DTV signal.”

ION Media Networks, other Washington-area broadcasters, and other members of the OMVC showcased the latest in high-definition television and new digital subchannels, and previewed mobile digital television receivers as well.

“Much of the transition has been about keeping people’s analog televisions from going dark. Now, it’s time to showcase the great new services made possible by DTV,” said Burgess.

At the event, John Lawson executive vice president of ION Media Networks, demonstrated a live mobile DTV broadcast of its qubo SD channel on a cell phone to the Senate Commerce Committee, which was conducting a hearing on children’s media issues.

ION's focus on Washington, D.C., is part of a broader OMVC initiative to create the nation’s first showcase for mobile DTV in the nation’s capital, which will be launched later this year. Initial participating stations are Fox Television Stations’ WDCA-DT, Gannett Broadcasting’s WUSA-TV, ION Media Networks’ WPXW-DT, NBC Universal’s WRC-DT, PBS’ WHUT-DT, MHz Networks’ WNVT-DT and Sinclair Broadcast Group’s WNUV-DT, all of which participated in the Capitol Hill event.

Also co-sponsoring the event were LG Electronics, the NAB, the Association for Maximum Service Television (MSTV), the Advanced Television Systems Committee (ATSC), the Minority Media and Telecom Counsel (MMTC), the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) and the Association of Public Television Stations (APTS), along with manufacturers Dell, Harris, Kenwood, Roundbox, Rohde & Schwarz, and Samsung.