WHUT-TV Commits to Launching M-EAS

WASHINGTON: Howard University’s WHUT-TV is the first TV station serving Washington, D.C. to commit to launching Mobile Emergency Alert System service. The announcement was made at an event marking the commercial launch of mobile DTV. WHUT, a Public Broadcasting Service member station, reaches around 2 million viewers. The mobile EAS system is designed to transmit rich-media formatted messages to devices that decode mobile DTV signals. It leverages the IP-centric ATSC M/H transmission standard to broadcast video, audio, photos and graphics in addition to text. Prototype LG mobile phones were used to demonstrate the service on Capitol Hill today.

Jefferi K. Lee, general manager of WHUT-TV, said M-EAS was a “prime example of our strategic mission to serve the community… For better or worse, Washington D.C., is at the epicenter of emergencies from time to time, including both manmade events and natural disasters like the derecho storm and ‘Snowmaggedon.’ M-EAS, with its one-to-many broadcast architecture, will give area residents access to immediate alerts at home, at school, at work and on the go, event when the power’s out and the cell network is down.”

WHUT’s announcement follows a year-long pilot program involving several PBS member stations as well as KOMO-TV in Seattle. WRAL-TV in Raleigh, N.C., recently demonstrated M-EAS for local first responders. No timetable was given for the actual launch of the service at WHUT, which will be supported by LG Electronics, Harris and PBS.

September 17, 2012:
Broadcasters Prepare for Mobile DTV Launch
When mobile DTV rolls out in about 50 markets during the next few months, the service will rely more heavily than originally envisioned on peripheral “dongles,” initially priced at more than $100 each, that enable smartphones and tablets to receive signals.

September 12, 2012:
WRAL-TV to Demo Mobile EAS
WRAL will demonstrate mobile EAS tomorrow, making it the first commercial station to light up the service. M-EAS will be able to transmit multimedia emergency messages to receivers that decode mobile DTV signals.