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Microsoft Teams with LINX, Acrodyne to Demo Mobile HDTV at NAB

Microsoft is working with LINX Electronics and Acrodyne to demonstrate a new mobile DTV transmission technology at NAB2003. The demo will use live over-the-air digital broadcasts from a Las Vegas TV station to deliver Microsoft-encoded HD programming to a van, which will traverse the streets of the city.

The demo will promote several new technologies targeting DTV in the U.S. Microsoft is rolling out its Windows Media 9 Series to broadcasters as a new efficient compression codec that can deliver HD video in 1/3 the size of MPEG-2. LINX will be promoting its LINX Mobile transmission technology that uses a form of VSB, the transmission standard for DTV in the U.S.

LINX president Bob Rast says the demonstration is initially targeting countries considering the ATSC DTV standard, like Brazil and China, but are also keenly interested in mobile applications. "This system is developed for 6 MHz channels," Rast said, adding that while the scheme will fit in with the American DTV standard, it would be incompatible with current DTV receivers on the market.

DTV insiders believe that mobile transmission of DTV signals will be a boon for broadcasters, allowing them to tap new revenue streams from delivery of digital programming to vehicles, PDAs and other mobile devices. Microsoft claims that its Windows Media 9 Series codec is ideal for mobile delivery, bringing HD data rates down to as low as 5 Mbps and 1.5 Mbps for SD.

The demo will broadcast HD content using an Acrodyne high-power transmitter from KFBT-DT, a Las Vegas affiliate of Sinclair Broadcast Group. Other vendors involved in the demo include SpectraRep, which provided system integration expertise and Tandberg Television, which is providing its new Windows Media 9 Series encoder.