The ongoing debate over whether or not broadcasters should give up some or all of their 6MHz channels to accommodate projected future wireless bandwidth demands doesn’t faze Anne Schelle one bit.
Schelle, the executive director of the Open Mobile Video Coalition (OMVC), who has a long history in the wireless industry dating back to McCaw Cellular, has seen it all before. Whether it was wireless companies initially resisting a move away from analog to digital mobile phone networks, a reluctance to shed pricing structures aimed at business budgets in favor of a consumer-friendly approach, or even giving the go-ahead to support still and video cameras in cell phones, wireless companies have a history of turning a cold shoulder to change — that is until there’s consumer demand, she says.
Presumably, any proposal — including an FCC filing from the association representing wireless carriers — to take away bandwidth from broadcasters would at best retard and at worst kill off mobile DTV development. But in Schelle’s view, wireless carriers will respond positively to consumer demand for mobile DTV as they recognize the potential and develop strategies to monetize add-ons to the broadcast service, she says. “I think carriers will be interested in supporting mobile DTV, and I think you will see some information about that in 2010,” she says. Mobile carriers will find mobile DTV-related revenue opportunities offering consumers cells phones that support mobile DTV reception and its interactive layer that could be used to monetize interactive advertising, she adds.
Schelle dismisses concerns over losing broadcast spectrum.
“Our position from the OMVC is that mobile is an important part of the broadband fabric, and the networks that the broadcasters have fit well into any overall plan,” she says. “People want mobile television, and the best way to deliver that is via broadcasting. One-to-many broadcasting makes sense in terms of the economics.”
Talk of reallocating broadcast spectrum for wireless broadband service hasn’t dissuaded consumer electronics manufacturers from moving forward with their plan for mobile DTV, she adds. Next month at the 2010 International CES convention in Las Vegas, mobile DTV will have a coming out party of sorts in the consumer arena with a dozen or so devices with built-in mobile DTV receivers that will be ready for store shelves in 2010, she says.
“The manufacturers are committed,” Schelle says. “These are real devices coming out to the market with time frames and prices. It doesn’t get any more real than that.”
Phil Kurz is a contributing editor to TV Tech. He has written about TV and video technology for more than 30 years and served as editor of three leading industry magazines. He earned a Bachelor of Journalism and a Master’s Degree in Journalism from the University of Missouri-Columbia School of Journalism.
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