Harris designs mobile TV system

If successfully deployed, broadcasters will be able to monetize their localized content to subscribers in their own markets.
MPH allows stations to use their existing DTV channel and the mandated ATSC 8-VSB modulation scheme to send video to portable receivers.

Harris is working with LG Electronics and some independent broadcast groups, including Sinclair Broadcast Group, to encourage the deployment of an in-band mobile DTV system.

If successfully deployed, stations will be able to monetize their localized content (news, weather and sports) to subscribers in their own markets. Other mobile TV services thus far have focused on network programming and other content that appeals to a national audience. Stations would also replicate their main DTV channel. Cell phones, laptop and handheld computers, DVD players and in-car entertainment systems would receive these local signals.

The idea for new mobile DTV system, called Mobile-Pedestrian-Handheld (MPH), is that stations will use their existing DTV channel and the mandated ATSC 8-VSB modulation scheme. The MPH system is being pitched to stations as a multiple-stream approach, with the main service stream being sent for existing DTV and HDTV services, and the MPH stream used for one or more mobile services.

MPH will be demonstrated at the NAB convention, using signals of a looping video from a server transmitted by the local CW affiliate, KVCW-DT to a van that will travel around Las Vegas. The technology will also be featured inside the Las Vegas Convention Center at the Harris booth #N2502 and in the ATSC "Hot Spot" in the South Hall, upper lobby. LG Electronics, Zenith and Harris will also disclose field test results.

LG Electronics and its U.S. research subsidiary, Zenith Electronics, have joined forces with Harris on the development of new in-band mobile technology. The MPH stream uses advanced video and audio coding for robustness and efficiency and is backward compatible with the existing ATSC 8-VSB transmission and receiving equipment.

Harris will manufacture the necessary circuit boards that go inside existing transmitters already deployed, while LG Electronics will make the required reception chips that will go into portable receivers, which consumers will use to receive a signal at high speed with a single antenna. The next-generation portable devices with the LG MPH chips will not be ready for market until 2008.

With the MPH system, broadcasters do not need to involve outside service providers or spectrum-pooling arrangements.

DVB-H and MediaFLO are similar yet different mobile TV technologies that use an IP packet –based design that is directed to cell phones, while MPH will be transmitted to a wider variety of portable devices, according to Harris. Harris supports both competing standards in its transmitters as well.

For more information, visit www.harris.com, www.lgusa.com and www.zenith.com.