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Dyle Phone Hits the Market

DALLAS: Mobile DTV went public today with the public introduction of a Samsung phone with a built-in receiver. MetroPCS introduced the Samsung Galaxy S Lightray 4G, the first commercially available smartphone capable of receiving over-the-air television signals in the form of Dyle TV.

The Lightray is Android-powered, with a 4.2-inch AMOLED screen, a 1 GHz processor, and the first smartphone from MetroPCS that doubles as a 4G LTE hotspot. It’s listed for $459 plus tax, with no annual contract service starting at $40 a month.

Dyle on the Galaxy S Lightray will be available in “select markets at no additional charge to customers on a MetroPCS LTE service plan,” the provider said. Dyle is lit up in major cities across the country, including Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle, Atlanta, Boston, Dallas, Denver, Miami, Minneapolis, New York, Philadelphia, Portland, Ore.; Kansas City, Mo.; Miami and several others.

Mobile DTV has been in the works for years. Getting receivers into the market has been one of the biggest obstacles. LG introduced the first standalone receiver in 2010, available on Amazon for around $250, but the seven-pound device didn’t permeate the market. The goal has been to get receivers into smartphones. The device deal between Dyle TV and MetroPCS was announced at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas last January.

Dyle TV is the program brand developed by the Mobile Content Venture, a consortium of networks and groups representing around 300 TV stations, including NBC, Fox, ION and network-affiliated stations belonging to Belo, Cox, E.W. Scripps, Gannett, Hearst, Media General, Meredith, Post-Newsweek and Raycom. The service is encrypted, available only through a downloadable app, meaning another 1,300 or so stations around the nation will not be available through the service.

Another mobile DTV consortium, the Mobile500 Alliance, comprises around 427 stations with signals that won’t be available on Dyle. The Mobile500 was formed in 2010—after MCV was announced at the NAB tradeshow that April—by station groups excluded from the venture. While both have members belonging to a third, over-arching group—the 900-station Open Mobile Video Coalition—both have distinct business plans.

The Mobile500 aimed at launching three or four channels at the end of 2011, but the goal was not met. It did, however, introduce an iPad receiver dongle at CES and announce a beta launch of mobile DTV service in Seattle with Fisher Communications, to take place this year.
~ Deborah D. McAdams