MobiTV Celebrates ATSC Mobile-Handheld Candidate Standard

MobiTV has a reason to be interested in broadcast DTV.

The Advanced Television Systems Committee announced Dec. 1 that the specification for Mobile Digital Television has been elevated to candidate standard after a vote by eligible ATSC members.

Alan Moskowitz, director of strategic alliances in the CTO Office at MobiTV, praised the new standard. Moskowitz served on the ATSC panel for the last 18 months and confirmed that MobiTV worked cooperatively to ensure the success of the standard. “We were honored to have taken our mobile expertise into the broadcast arena to accelerate a new mobile standard," he said. The company “has always maintained that the future of mobile TV is a hybrid formula of unicast and broadcast technologies. Their commitment to ATSC-M/H is not solely focused on a new standard, but rather to their vision of a platform that combines broadcast, unicast and interactivity.”

MobiTV Chairman and CEO Charlie Nooney explained, “Our focus is on the end user and the technology that will deliver the best mobile experience for them, whether it's watching your local news, a live sporting event or a personalized vertical application.”

Anne Schelle welcomed MobiTV's participation in the standard making process. “It's not unusual for the development of standards to take more than four years. MobiTV's involvement has been instrumental in fast-tracking ATSC-M/H's development."

MobiTV has a reason to be interested in broadcast DTV. This week it announced its managed network for mobile television and radio had surpassed the 5 million-subscriber mark. “We witnessed an extraordinary increase in the number of subscribers that tuned into the presidential debates and Election Day news,” said Paul Scanlan, president and co-founder of MobiTV. “There was a 111 percent increase over average daily viewing during the third presidential debate and a 373 percent increase for Election Day. Those numbers not only indicate exciting times for U.S. politics, but for mobile television as well."

(Check the ATSC Candidate Standards Web page for a PDF of the Mobile DTV Candidate Standard.)

In addition to the RF/transmission system characteristics that have been widely discussed, the Mobile DTV Candidate Standard includes service multiplex and transport subsystem characteristics, a method for announcements, the presentation framework, service protection, and video and audio system characteristics. These items provide a complete specification for a broadcast DTV signal capable of delivering live TV, data and interactivity to new mobile and handheld receivers while maintaining backward compatibility with legacy DTV receivers.

“The combination of live television and interactive capabilities on mobile and handheld devices is an essential element for the future success of over the air digital television,” said Glenn Reitmeier, chairman of the ATSC Board of Directors. “Our efforts to develop ATSC Mobile DTV are a part of a strategy to provide the broadcast industry with the technical ability to deliver content to consumers on the move. The architecture of the Candidate Standard will make terrestrial broadcasting an important segment of the Internet.”

Brandon Burgess, President of the Open Mobile Video Coalition and chairman and CEO of ION Media Networks outlined the time line for deployment of Mobile DTV services and devices. “The ATSC’s decision to elevate the Mobile DTV specifications to Candidate Standard is an important milestone that not only validates, but also furthers, the advancement of Mobile DTV in the United States,” he said. “This new Candidate Standard will enable broadcasters to launch services and will also allow device manufacturers to move forward with product development to ensure this emerging industry will have a successful commercial deployment in 2009.”

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