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IEEE BTS Provides Mobile-Handheld TV Status

This week's annual IEEE Broadcast Technology Society symposium featured more than 30 papers and tutorials for its broadcasting industry attendees. Although the impending DTV transition, white space issues and other potential hot button topics, received a lot of attention, the status of mobile and handheld broadcasting was not ignored, with a tutorial session and papers addressing the growing interest in this sector.

Mark Aitken of the Sinclair Broadcast Group and Bret Jenkins with Ion Media Networks, brought symposium attendees up to date on the latest developments in the broadcasting to small screens arenas in their joint presentation, "Reinventing Digital Television—Mobile/Handheld Standardization Activity."

Attendees were reminded that broadcasters should be gearing up to provide such services, as there is an ever-increasing interest in this area of television.

"There's a shifting behavior in terms of TV viewing," Aitken said. "We're seeing more and more interaction with mobile and handheld devices. This business is going to be big. People tend to watch TV in a mobile environment when they get the chance."

Methodology and results generated in mobile/handheld field tests conducted earlier this year in the San Francisco and Las Vegas markets were shared with the audience.

Jenkins discussed strengths and weaknesses revealed in the tests. Of particular interest was the identification of the cause for a problematic signal situation identified in some areas of San Francisco. He said that those involved in the testing observed failures even in the presence of strong signals, and at both VHF and UHF frequencies.

After some analysis, the difficulty was identified as strong reflections from towers supporting the Golden Gate Bridge. Jenkins, speaking in jest, said that a range of solutions had been offered, ranging from tearing down the towers to cloaking the bridge in a non-reflective coating.