OMVC to Test Mobile DTV Conditional Access in D.C.

WASHINGTON: Conditional access for mobile digital television is on deck to be tested in the nation’s capital this fall. The Open Mobile Video Coalition said it would initiate a model conditional-access system in Washington to test its efficacy with receivers. A conditional-access scheme is necessary to do audience measurement and to launch subscription tiers. None of the three organizations promoting Mobile DTV have revealed their programming and pricing models, a mix of free and fee-based offerings are expected.

In addition, OMVC said its Neustar-managed Mobile DTV Trust Authority is now operational and “in discussions with several companies developing new Mobile DTV products operating with conditional access.” The group said electronics manufacturers are entering agreements directly with Neustar to obtain the digital certificates and keys necessary to build secure Mobile DTV receivers. It did not say which manufacturers were entering these agreements.

OMVC said its Mobile DTV Forum is working to complete Consumer Electronics Device Profiles for new programming services later this summer. The profiles are baseline technical guidelines for CE manufacturers on how broadcasters intend to implement new services, and what inputs are needed for receivers. The forum includes TV technology companies, consumer electronics firms, and broadcasters.

The OMVC, which represents 900 TV stations, said Mobile DTV is on track to reach two-thirds of U.S. households by early 2012. OMVC said 96 stations are now on the air with a ATSC M/H signal, the format denoting mobile broadcast TV transmission. The total is expected to reach 126 stations in 48 markets by the end of the year, the OMVC’s latest survey said.

Some of those stations belong to the 12 groups in Mobile Content Venture, a coalition formed at the 2010 NAB Show. MCV recently announced a brand—Dyle—for its carrier stations belonging to Belo, Cox, E.W. Scripps Co., Gannett, Hearst, Media General, Meredith, Post-Newsweek and Raycom. Fox, ION and NBC are also members of the MCV, which said in July its members would have ATSC M/H on the air in 32 markets covering half the population by the end of this year.

A third mobile digital TV consortium, the Mobile500 comprises 400 stations not included in MCV. That coalition intends to launch two or three channels by the end of this year. Both groups overlap with the OMVC.

Last month, OMVC announced a new predictive model for reception of UHF Mobile DTV signals, intended to predict signal coverage in automobiles and for personal viewing. OMVC 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.

~ Deborah D. McAdams, Television Broadcast