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FCC Frees Up Mobile DTV With Analog Tuner Waiver

WASHINGTON: The Federal Communications Commission has released mobile DTV from a regulatory obstacle. The commission waived a requirement that mobile digital broadcast TV receivers include analog decoding technology.

“We consider the petitions jointly and conclude that a waiver is in the public interest because it would facilitate the introduction of television receivers with mobile DTV tuners that are designed to be used in motion,” the FCC order stated. “As a condition of the waiver, however, we require that responsible parties clearly disclose to consumers that a specific device does not have the capability to receive analog signals, and, where applicable, standard non-mobile digital signals.”

Dell, LG Electronics and Hauppauge filed petitions to waive the analog-tuner requirement, which originated from a 1962 law ensuring all TVs had UHF reception. The so-called “All Channel Receiver Act” directed that all TV sets had to be able to tune in all frequencies allocated for television broadcasting. It was amended in 2002 to accommodate the digital TV transition, which concluded last June. The analog tuner requirement remained in place, however, because low-power TV stations and translators continue to broadcast in analog.

The mobile DTV standard, ATSC M/H or A/153, was adopted last October, just two-and-a-half years into development as broadcasters raced to get into the mobile video market. Handheld viewing devices debuted at the Consumer Electronics Show in January, but it wasn’t until May that the analog-tuner requirement came into question.

LG, Dell and Hauppauge said analog tuners were “inappropriate and unnecessary” for mobile DTV receivers. They said the mandate was a “burdensome obligation that would actually diminish the value of these devices to consumers.”LG said including an analog tuner would mean splitting the input from the reception antenna, diminishing the signal strength by 3 dB and in turn, reducing the overall reception area.

Only devices dedicated to A/153 reception are covered by the waiver.
-- Deborah D. McAdams

May 27, 2010
: “Mobile DTV Runs Up Against Analog Tuner Requirement”
The companies are asking for a limited waiver for mobile devices only.

October 16, 2009: “Mobile DTV Standard Adopted”
LG, Samsung, Kenwood and Dell are the lead manufacturers for A/153-compatible devices. Receivers ready for prime time are expected to be on display at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas in January.

October 7, 2009
: “Wireless Carriers Build Mobile TV as Broadcasters Prepare for Launch
Verizon Wireless has 87.7 million subscribers; though it doesn’t provide numbers on how many handsets are VCast-enabled and how many of those have activated subscriptions. The service is one of the first mobile TV offerings to go live in the United States after the roll-out of the originator, MobiTV.

October 7, 2009: “Qualcomm Rolls out Handheld FLO TV”
Qualcomm unveiled its handheld FLO TV this week, in time for the holiday season.

September 3, 2009:
“Gray Conducts Successful Mobile DTV Tests”
Gray Television commenced its first successful mobile DTV signal at WOWT-TV, its NBC affiliate in Omaha, Nebr., on July 24.

August 26, 2009:
“Free Analog Mobile TV Bode Well for Digital Version”
The global uptake of free analog mobile TV is a good sign that the digital iteration will be successful.

June 29, 2009:
More on Mobile from Overseas”
Korean wireless carriers said that some 22 million people are using mobile television in the country, according to The Korea Times. The population of South Korea is estimated at a little less than 48.4 million.

April 20, 2009:
NAB: Broadcasters Target D.C. for Mobile TV Consumer Trials
The Open Mobile Video Coalition said Washington, D.C. has been selected as a product showcase market for Mobile DTV technology.

April 20, 2009: “
City of Raleigh Initiates First Public Mobile DTV Deployment
Officials in this Tech Triangle corridor city teamed up with WRAL-TV for the first public deployment of mobile DTV.

March 20, 2009:
Mobile DTV Poised for Rising Revenue Wave
Mobile advertising revenues will hit $3.1 billion in 2013, up from $160 million last year, according to research from The Kelsey Group, a division of BIA.

February 17, 2009:
MobiTV Tops 6 Million Subscribers
MobiTV announced today at the Mobile World Congress event, being held in Barcelona, Spain, that it had surpassed the six million mark in subscribers for its managed mobile media services.

January 12, 2009: “
Mobile DTV to Launch in 22 Markets Immediately
Sixty-three TV stations across the country will launch mobile TV this year, the Open Mobile Video Coalition announced in Las Vegas during the Consumer Electronics Show there.