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Mobile DTV Group Outlines Plans for Fall Launch

The Mobile500 Alliance, a group of broadcasters covering more than 90 percent of U.S. homes, plans to launch the nation’s first Mobile DTV service in Q4 this year, with a lineup of 2-3 local and national channels with the plan to eventually expand to 15-20.

The Alliance, which has 46 member companies, including two public broadcasters, holds licenses to 420 TV stations nationwide. Currently more than 70 TV stations in 32 markets are already broadcasting some form of Mobile DTV programming, according to the OMVC, a consortium of more than 900 broadcasters tasked with promoting the new service.

A number of Mobile DTV receivers, including computer accessories, DVD players and portable TV sets are currently on the market and integrated smartphones and tablets have been shown as prototypes. The Alliance is hoping that the fall launch will help prompt demand for Mobile DTV reception to be integrated into a range of handheld devices.

The lineup of 15-20 channels will consist of a mix of free and subscription channels along with video on demand content and data delivered via Mobile DTV and 3G/4G and Wi-Fi networks. The launch will begin in major markets, eventually expanding to mid and small markets.

In April, the Alliance unanimously approved the business plan, which also formulated a corporation, the National Mobile System. The NMS will work with broadcasters who want to contribute spectrum or create channels in exchange for equity in the company, according to John Lawson, president of the Mobile 500 Alliance.