Mobile TV Format Competitors Make Nice

The news spread like wildfire this week that Samsung is teaming up with LG on the mobile DTV transmission format standard. The two were previously in competitive groups vying to have their technology blessed by the Advanced Television Systems Committee.

LG Electronics was aligned with Harris in developing MPH (Mobile-Pedestrian-Handheld). The other handset-transmitter team consisted of Samsung and Rohde & Schwarz, using an advanced-vestigial sideband, or A-VSB, format. Both were being tested by the Open Mobile Video Coalition of some 850 broadcasters. LG and Samsung made friends just as the OMVC prepared to release its findings, which were said to favor MPG because of its lower data rate compared to A-VSB. In the wake of the LG-Samsung nuptials, he OMVC advocated using a combination of the technologies, with MPH as the basline of the physical layer, augmented with features from A-VSB.

The OMVC said it collected 140 hours of data over 1,000 miles across two trial areas. Full-motion video was achieved at “pedestrian and highway speeds,” as far as 40 miles from a transmitter, the OMVC said in a statement.

The realignment between handset makers leaves Harris in the catbird seat on the transmitter side. Harris said it would start shipping its new mobile broadcast exciter--the Apex M2X ATSC--in August.

Standardization by the ATSC is the next step in the process toward commercial deployment of mobile broadcast television. Another submission, from Micronas and Thomson, is also under consideration at the Committee, according to ATSC Chief Mark Richer, who recently provided TVB with an update on the process.