Mobile DTV Consumer Trial Gets Underway in Washington

Samsung Moment
The Open Mobile Video Coalition (OMVC) this week launched its “Consumer Showcase” program, which is designed to build public awareness about the potential of Mobile DTV service. The event officially kicked off May 3 in the nation’s capitol, and is a collaborative effort by the OMVC and nine Washington D.C.-area television stations.

The initiative will provide viewers with an opportunity to view local digital TV broadcasts on a variety of mobile devices, including specially-equipped cell phones, netbooks, portable media players, as well as on conventional laptop computers, iPhones and iPads via a special adapter.

“The Consumer Showcase is a major milestone in the two decade-long effort by the broadcast industry to build the world’s most advanced digital television system for the benefit of all Americans,” said Brandon Burgess, chief executive officer of ION Media Networks and chairman of the OMVC. “The Consumer Showcase is a truly exciting demonstration of the types of services that broadcasters will deploy across the country in the next few years, bringing a new era of television to the U.S,”

Placing the trials in Washington, D.C. is no accident. As broadcasters attempt to convince the FCC and legislators of the importance of free over-the-air broadcasting in lieu of the commission’s plans to recoup a portion of the broadcast spectrum for mobile broadband, the Washington trial will “enable us to go to Congressional offices and show them the future,” NAB President Gordon Smith said at an OMVC gathering at the NAB Show last month. “The amazing thing is that in this post-9/11 world, a local TV service will be available to [consumers] on cellphones and BlackBerrys.”

As part of the initiative, OMVC will distribute a limited number of Samsung Moment cell phones and Dell 10-inch notebooks to consumers, and also plans to stage consumer focus groups involving LG’s Mobile DTV/portable DVD players and the Valups Tivizen WiFi adapters. Consumers picked for the trials were culled from Sprint Mobile’s subscriber list.

Programs being offered in the summer-long Capitol-area demo include local CBS, NBC, Fox, My Network, CNBC, MSNBC, Univision, PBS Mobile, PBS Kids, CW network shows, weather radar scans, and more. Participating televisions will be transmitting more than 20 program choices as part of Consumer Showcase activities. The event will also feature demonstrations of the system’s potential for viewer interactivity, including interactive advertising, voting and polling.