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OMVC predicts Mobile DTV devices and service in most U.S. homes in a year

The Open Mobile Video Coalition (OMVC) says that mobile DTV is on track to reach two-thirds of U.S. households by early 2012, based on a survey it conducted among its member stations. Some 96 stations are now on the air with a mobile DTV signal (most simulcasting their linear TV channel) and that number is expected to increase steadily to 126 in 48 DMAs by the end of this year.

The group, made up of numerous station groups and network O&Os, said dozens of broadcasters are now installing new transmission equipment enabling a station to use part of its government-allotted 6 Mhz of RF spectrum — at a cost of roughly $150,000 per station.

The OMVC also announced that its Mobile DTV Trust Authority, managed by Neustar, is now in discussions with several consumer electronics companies to spur them to develop new products that include conditional access technology and the necessary ATSC A/153 receiver chip. These manufacturers are said to be signing agreements directly with Neustar in order to obtain the digital certificates and keys necessary for secure use of Mobile DTV service by the new devices.

The recently announced Dyle mobile TV branded service will feature content from NBC, FOX, Telemundo and ION, as well as local news, weather and other local content, across 32 markets, reaching 50 percent of the U.S. population in 2011.

Colleen Brown, CEO of Fisher Communications and chairman of the Mobile 500 Alliance, said that OMVC members are making the investments needed to make Mobile DTV available to millions of viewers. The Mobile500 Alliance represents more than 400 local TV broadcasters who are planning to add Mobile DTV capability to their digital broadcasts.

The OMVC has also established a “Mobile DTV Forum” that the group said is working to complete Consumer Electronics Device Profiles for new programming services later this summer. The profiles are baseline technical guidelines that will give CE manufacturers details about how broadcasters will implement new services and the inputs needed to build consumer electronics products that receive Mobile DTV. The Mobile DTV Forum is comprised of TV technology companies, consumer electronics firms and broadcasters.

In the fall, the OMVC will launch a trial Conditional Access System in the Washington, D.C. market to help CE companies test gear that receives, decodes and displays mobile broadcast signals. Everyone agrees that conditional access is critical to the success of Mobile DTV, both to protect content from illegal viewing and to facilitate audience measurement strategies as well as the (eventual) deployment of subscription programming.

Last month, the OMVC announced a new Predictive Model for reception of UHF Mobile DTV signals, a tool intended to predict signal coverage in automobiles and for personal viewing. The coalition is also making available recorded Mobile DTV signals, a new library of content that will help broadcasters and product developers improve Mobile DTV service and consumer products.

Representing over 900 TV stations across the country, the OMVC is a voluntary association of television broadcasters whose mission is to accelerate the development of mobile digital television in the United States. The OMVC is composed of 36 members that own and operate over 500 commercial television stations, as well as the Association of Public Television Stations, Corporation for Public Broadcasting and the Public Broadcasting Service, which represent an additional 360 public television stations. Membership in the OMVC is open to all U.S.-based television broadcasters. For more information, visit