CES: Mobile EAS Demonstrated

LAS VEGAS: In the first public demonstration of the Mobile Emergency Alert System Pilot Project, PBS and LG Electronics today showed how the new system will deliver instant rich media alerts. One of the four PBS stations participating in the pilot project is the Las Vegas affiliate, KLVX-DT. The station is transmitting simulated emergency alert content using the ATSC M/H mobile transmission standard.

The project will be used to evaluate the system’s capabilities for delivering multimedia alerts comprising video, audio, text, and graphics to mobile DTV-equipped cellphones, tablets, laptops, netbooks, and in-car navigation systems. The M-EAS platform is said to avoid the type of congestion that can overwhelm cellphone networks during an emergency because it’s a point-to-multipoint system.

The goals of the year-long pilot are to develop the basic capability and to prove the viability of M-EAS, to build on existing standards with the cooperation of three public TV stations, and to create a template for deployment by any TV station--public or commercial.

PBS member stations WGBH in Boston, WBIQ and WAIQ in Birmingham and Montgomery, Ala., respectively, also are participating in the pilot project. Fisher’s Seattle ABC affiliate, KOMO-TV has developed a tsunami video alert simulation for the system as well.

LG developed the M-EAS receivers and provided funding for the project, while the Corp. for Public Broadcasting provided a matching grant to PBS. Harris Broadcast and Roundbox are providing key components and technology.