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Mobile TV Group Gets Behind ATSC

The Open Mobile Video Coalition is ramping up its efforts to establish a mobile DTV transmission standard for the coming year. The group said it will assist the Advanced Television Systems Committee in the process by providing more testing and support. The Washington, D.C.-based committee is in charge of establishing the standard, dubbed “ATSC M/H” for “mobile/handheld.”

The OMVC is offering to do corroborative testing of the M/H physical layer; independent verification of the candidate standard; complete system validation; and on-air facility and interoperability testing. The group previously corroborated initial test results that determined the available technology was worth pursuing.

The leading candidate technology is Mobile-Pedestrian-Handheld, or M-P-H, from LG Electronics, Harris and Zenith. It was recently tested in Raleigh, N.C., where it was transmitted over WRAL-TV“s digital spectrum. Mobile reception was reported to be achieved at speeds of up to 70 miles per hour.

Brandon Burgess, chief off the ION Media network and president of OMVC, said the move is a “reaffirmation of broadcasters“ deep and unwavering commitment to fielding outstanding mobile digital television services to consumers.”

OMVC“s membership includes networks and groups that own and operate 450 TV stations. The 360-member Association of Public TV Stations is on board as well. However, there are still broadcasters in the business quietly expressing skepticism about mobile DTV.

For the WRAL tests, a 4.5 Mbps pipe was necessary to transmit TV signals at 600 and 300 kbps because M-P-H requires about 82 percent more bandwidth than what the receivers are picking up. One engineer familiar with the tests said 300 and 600 Mbps was “getting down to the YouTube quality level.”

The push is nonetheless on to establish a mobile DTV standard before the analog shutdown next Feb. 17. Any service launched by broadcasters will compete with incumbents that include SprintTV, Verizon“s V Cast, MobiTV and others.

A report on the state of mobile television is featured in the July issue of Television Broadcast magazine.