Mobile DTV Showcase Underway in D.C.

WASHINGTON: The Open Mobile Video Coalition launched its Consumer Showcase to build awareness about over-the-air mobile DTV. The event kicked off May 3 in the nation’s capitol, and is a collaborative effort by the OMVC and nine Washington D.C. television stations. The intent is to get receivers into the hands of a select group of individuals to draw attention to the free service.

“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.

OMVC distributed a limited number of ATSC M/H-enabled Samsung Moment cell phones and Dell 10-inch notebooks to its sample group. It also plans to stage consumer focus groups involving LG’s Mobile DTV/portable DVD players and the Valups adapters that enable ATSC M/H reception on iPhones, some iPods, WiFi-enabled Blackberrys and Motorola Android phones.

Consumers picked for the trials were culled from Sprint Mobile’s subscriber list in D.C. Launching the trials in Washington expose the service to lawmakers, who are considering the reclamation of broadcast spectrum for a national broadband service. Broadcasters have vigorously argued against it in part because many are on the cusp of launching mobile DTV service, which would be more attractive were it nationwide.

Networks available via the summer-long demo include local feeds from CBS, NBC, Fox, My Network, CW and Univision, plus CNBC, MSNBC, PBS Mobile and PBS Kids, in addition to weather radar scans, and more. The trial will also feature demonstrations of the system’s potential for viewer interactivity, including interactive advertising, voting and polling.

Meanwhile, Pearl Mobile DTV Co. has made no further announcements. Pearl was formed at the 2010 NAB Show in April by TV groups Belo, Cox, E.W. Scripps, Gannett, Hearst Television, Media General, Meredith, Post-Newsweek and Raycom. The station groups, along with national networks Fox, ION and NBC, announced at the show they were forming a joint venture to create a new national mobile content service. Pearl Mobile DTV Co., was created by the stations groups to manage their participation.
-- from TV Technology and Deborah D. McAdams