NAB President Highlights Mobile DTV and New TV Transmission Format

NAB president, Gordon Smith, in his NAB Show keynote address called for broadcasters to move forward with the times and take advantage of new technologies that might help broadcasting to remain viable.

“Our future lies in innovating and spurring technology that will deliver our highly valued content to any platform for generations to come,” said Smith. “The time has come for us to unite in our embrace of new technology and to realize the consequences if we don't.”

He cited mobile DTV as an example, noting that 25 new stations will be “lighting up mobile TV in some of our biggest cities.”

At the Verizon’s NAB Show booth I noticed they were touting their LTE network for delivering broadcast content. President Smith noticed the trend too, remarking, “Our competitors in the wireless industry want to be part of the mobile TV business… and they are investing a lot of money in this endeavor. They are even branding their service 'mobile TV.' But our competitors will never have what we have—the ability to deliver our high-quality content reliably.”

My observation is that an obvious problem with distributing programming over a wireless carrier's network is that there are many of them. If a deal is signed with Verizon will AT&T customers be able to view the program? What about T-Mobile and Sprint customers? It could get messy.

While Smith did not mention ATSC 3.0 or “Next Generation Broadcasting” specifically in the transcript, he encouraged broadcasters to consider new technologies, stating, “We must seize the opportunities that new technology platforms present to broadcasters, otherwise, we are essentially handing our competitors the keys to our future. It is my opinion that television broadcasting should seriously consider the challenges and opportunities of moving to a new standard, allowing stations the flexibility they need to better serve their viewers, compete in a mobile world, and find new revenue streams.” A complete transcript of his address is available at

The next few years are going to be challenging for broadcasters. NAB is in a unique position to lead the transition to a new platform as it and its members have experience three areas critical to a successful transition—regulatory, business, and technology.

Doug Lung

Doug Lung is one of America's foremost authorities on broadcast RF technology. He has been with NBC since 1985 and is currently vice president of broadcast technology for NBC/Telemundo stations.