OMVION Developing Portable/Mobile/Out-Of-Home DTV Technology

How many outdoor TV antennas do you see on your drive to work? How many of these are still hooked up to TV sets? Research indicates that the number of households that depend on off-air free TV as their primary source of TV programming is shrinking. If this trend continues, will the government allow broadcasters to continue to occupy valuable spectrum to serve such a limited number of people? Will station owners be willing to foot the electrical bill to keep high power UHF DTV transmitters on the air?

I've expressed my concerns about the future of off-air free TV in the past and have said that broadcasters would have to focus more on devices that depend on off-air broadcasting--portable and mobile devices--to thrive. ION Media Networks apparently has come to the same conclusion and is taking steps to make sure there is a future for this type of television. They have created Open Mobile Ventures Corp. The business unit is dedicated to the research and development of portable, mobile and out-of-home transmission technology utilizing the DTV broadcast spectrum.

Brandon Burgess, president and CEO of ION Media Networks, said, "ION Media Networks is in three businesses: broadcasting, multicasting and datacasting. The creation of OMVION will help us advance mobile datacasting activities in collaboration with like-minded broadcasters. Over 100 million video-capable mobile devices will be sold in the U.S. this year. OMVION's mission is to deliver video to such consumer devices using DTV broadcast spectrum."

ION's president of engineering, David Glenn, will manage OMVION. Former Disney corporate strategy executive Dan Hsieh will assist with developing an R&D and business plan for the development, marketing and deployment of DTV mobile applications. Test centers are planned for New York, Tampa, Fla., and Washington, D.C. to prototype and develop mobile TV and single frequency network distributed transmission technology.

David Glenn said, "Countries such as Japan, Korea and Italy have demonstrated that digital terrestrial spectrum offers a compelling platform for mobile video delivery. As we advance testing in this country, we hope that other U.S. TV broadcasters will join OMVION in advancing the use of digital broadcast TV technology to deliver content to mobile devices and unwired locations."

OMVION has obtained the backing of various consumer hardware and transmission equipment manufacturers interested in advancing the adoption of terrestrial portable and mobile TV video standards.