Broadcasters urge single standard for mobile video services

Nine broadcast groups that makes up the Open Mobile Video Coalition have issued an open letter to technology companies within the industry urging them to adopt a single standard for digital TV signals to be received on cell phones, PDAs and other mobile devices. The move was made to help speed the development and adoption of mobile broadcast TV in the United States.

Formed in April, the nine TV groups in the coalition include: Belo, Fox Television Stations, Gannett Broadcasting Gray Television, ION Media Networks, the NBC and Telemundo Television stations, Sinclair Broadcast Group and Tribune Broadcasting.

The group said the current terrestrial digital TV system (ATSC) is incapable of being received in mobile environments as it was designed to maximize broadcast coverage to fixed locations in homes. Broadcasters are looking for a single mobile technology standard that will be backward compatible with the existing digital TV signal, instead of using other spectrum requiring an entirely new digital TV infrastructure.

A request for proposal for a backwards compatible mobile and handheld standard for TV broadcasters was issued in May, with preliminary proposals due to the ATSC on June 21 and final proposals due on July 6.

“The Coalition believes that one of the major threats to the successful and timely introduction and adoption of new mobile video products and services is a marketplace ‘format war’ among incompatible approaches,” the coalition wrote. “We believe that reaching a single open standard that fosters healthy competition and encourages consumer confidence and rapid adoption is ultimately in everyone's best interests.”