Mobile TV to go another round at NAB

For the first time at an NAB show, mobile TV devices will be available for sale at the show store located in the Grand Lobby of the Las Vegas Convention Center. This could be a harbinger of progress as, in previous years, the gear has only been demonstrated in prototype form.

However now, with roughly 150 broadcasters broadcasting mobile TV signals — another 10 Sinclair Broadcast Group stations announced this week they would launch mobile video service in the next six months — about half the U.S. population can now receive the signals. Getting the proper reception technology into consumers’ hands in sizeable quantities is the next big challenge. Mobile TV content, say the broadcasters, is driving new products and services, many of which will be demonstrated at the NAB Show.

The latest in mobile TV broadcast technology will be on display at April 8 through 11 in the Mobile TV Pavilion (North Hall 2536 - 2638).

“Mobile TV holds promise for consumers and broadcasters as video on-the-go becomes increasingly in demand and data plan consumption charges become more expensive for consumers,” said Rick Kaplan, the NAB executive vice president. “Indeed, broadcasters’ one-to-everyone transmission model is the most efficient means of delivering content. As Superstorm Sandy demonstrated, this is particularly true in times of emergency when all the spectrum in the world would still be unable to ensure reliability of wireless networks’ one-to-one method of delivery.”

On Tuesday, April 8 at 1 p.m., the NAB Show Broadcast Management Conference will feature a session titled “Mobile TV Ready for Prime Time.” In this session, representatives from both the Mobile Content Venture and the Mobile500 Alliance will present the business opportunities presented by Mobile TV, provide case studies from various markets, examine successful marketing practices and discuss what consumers are saying about existing Mobile TV service.

Several new devices are on or coming to market that enable consumers to receive broadcast TV signals via mobile devices such as smart phones and tablets. Elgato, ESCORT and RCA will show such devices. Some will be available for purchase at the NAB Store and will be demonstrated for show attendees at a special kiosk in the Grand Lobby of the Las Vegas Convention Center.

Including in the new offerings will be EyeTV Mobile from Elgato Systems, a compact TV tuner that connects directly to the iPad or iPhone and receives the Mobile TV signal via a miniature antenna. It will be available for purchase during the show.

Also available for purchase will be the ESCORT MobileTV, a miniature mobile digital TV receiver that allows viewers to watch TV on-the-go using Apple’s iPhone, iPad or iPod touch.

The RCA Mobile TV Tablet, the first full-function Android tablet also equipped to receive both digital and Mobile TV, will also be shown. With an eight-inch screen, WiFi capability and retractable TV antenna, the Android 4.0 Mobile TV Tablet delivers tablet and TV functions in a multipurpose package. It’s not available yet for purchase, but will be demonstrated at NAB.

The Mobile TV Pavilion in the North Hall of the convention center will also feature broadcast service providers and manufacturers showcasing Mobile TV on cellphones, tablets and automotive receivers. Visitors will see a range of live, national and local programming and learn more about the rollout of additional stations and services being provided by broadcasters.

Among those is Decontis, who is showing a Mobile TV monitoring solution — atscSAM — already being used at more than 80 Dyle TV stations; DTVinteractive, who is showing head-end solutions and demonstrating its multistandard multiplexer, ATSC & ATSC-MH demodulator module for retransmission and central monitoring Mobile TV system; and Dyle, the Mobile TV service of the Mobile Content Venture of leading networks and broadcast groups, is demonstrating Dyle Mobile TV-compatible apps and devices that enable live broadcasting to mobile devices.

Mobile Emergency Alert System, newly standardized by the ATSC, will demonstrate the advantage of one-to-many broadcast TV architecture that reaches millions with one broadcast. M-EAS leverages Mobile TV broadcasting to provide multimedia alerts in times of natural disaster and during man-made attacks.

Mobile500, a voluntary alliance of 52 broadcasters representing more than 435 TV stations, is showing how it is working to accelerate the development of Mobile TV service; and Rentrak, the measurement partner for Dyle, is providing Mobile TV audience measurement services to professionals throughout the movie, television and advertising industries.