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LG, Harris Unveil Full-Scale Scalable Mobile DTV Mode System

4/12/2010 12:07:07 PM Eastern
Las Vegas - LG Electronics and Harris are using this week's National Association of Broadcasters convention, here, to unveil mobile digital television delivered as part of a "scalable full-channel mobile mode" that will enable as many as 16 different video programs to be sent in the bandwidth of a broadcaster's 6MHz TV allocation.

The companies have proposed the enhanced system for standardization to the Advanced Television Systems Committee (ATSC).

Current TV broadcasters are required by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to offer at least one standard-definition digital TV program in their 19.4Mbps broadcast bitstream.

Owners of other 700MHz spectrum, however, have more flexibility. Harris and LG said their demonstration will show all terrestrial broadcasters how to maximize spectrum use with a greater variety of TV programs to reach mobile viewers "on the go" as viewing habits change.

To allow the feat, engineers have trimmed the main digital program to enable a mere trickle of data -- enough to advertise available mobile programs on the service to in-home viewers. Most of the 19.4Mbps bitstream in the 6MHz TV channel is then cleared for transmission of various mobile programs, which can all be beamed from the same broadcast infrastructure.

"We realize there are applications for digital broadcasting that go far beyond the services transmitted by TV stations," stated Jong Kim, LG Electronics U.S. R&D lab president. "Companies that own 700MHz spectrum are beginning to ask how they might put the power of ATSC mobile digital broadcasting to use, and we're responding by creating a new method of utilizing digital transmission to transmit even more programs. With our Scalable Full-Channel Mobile Mode system, we can offer multiple programs for mobile devices and a ‘barker program' that can be seen by in-home viewers."

The Scalable Full-Channel Mobile Mode is said to be compatible with the ATSC A/153 Mobile DTV Standard adopted by the ATSC last October.

"It will offer non-traditional broadcasters an effective way to reach millions of mobile, portable and handheld devices," the companies said.

Meanwhile, the Open Mobile Video Coalition (OMVC) continued to beat the drum for the start of Mobile DTV broadcasting Monday by drawing attention to system demonstrations and tests planned for the Washington D.C. market beginning May 3.

The system, which has been in development for several, piggybacks on the current ATSC digital TV broadcast standard, allowing a portion of a broadcaster's 6Mhz digital spectrum to be used for transmitting standard-definition TV signals for reception by handheld and mobile TV devices, including specially equipped cellphones, netbooks, portable media players, and an adapter that can send Mobile DTV to laptops, iPhones and iPads.

The May 3 Mobile DTV Consumer Showcase will continue throughout the summer, the OMVC said, a precursor to the full-scale broadcasts across the country.

The showcase will demonstrate how each television station can simultaneously deliver a primary HDTV channel and multiple additional digital multicast channels to homes as well as multiple mobile digital television channels to "on the go" viewers, the OMVC said.

For the upcoming showcase, the coalition is coordinating a collaborative effort by nine Washington-area TV stations to transmit Mobile Digital TV signals to viewers -- including both free over-the-air channels and subscription premium programs.

The demonstrations will also include consumer interactive voting and polling, interactive advertising, advanced electronic service guides for program information, and transmissions of emergency alerts and closed captioning information, the OMVC said.

Mobile DTV devices to be used for the showcase will include the following:

·         a specially modified Samsung Moment mobile phone, which uses Google's Android platform;

·         Dell Inspiron Mini 10 Entertainment prototype netbooks with Mobile DTV circuitry;

·         an LG Mobile DTV-enabled portable DVD player; and

·         Tivizen Mobile DTV receivers from Valups, which receive over-the-air Mobile DTV and beam it to an awaiting Wi-Fi device (such as iPads, iPhones, laptops and other devices).

Starting in May, the OMVC Consumer Showcase will distribute a limited number of Samsung Moment cellphones and Dell 10-inch netbooks.

Also this summer, the showcase will leverage feedback from consumer focus groups using the LG Mobile Digital TV-ready portable DVD player and the Valups Tivizen Wi-Fi adapter to fine-tune product and system development.

"The Consumer Showcase is a major milestone in the two-decade-long effort by the broadcast industry to build the world's most advanced digital television system for the benefit of all Americans," stated Brandon Burgess, ION Networks CEO and OMVC chairman. "The U.S. DTV system already delivers the world's highest-quality video, and also transmits over 4,000 free television channels across the country. Now with the introduction of Mobile DTV technology, broadcasters can reach viewers not just at home but anywhere and anytime -- without needing new spectrum and without needing to build new towers. The Consumer Showcase is a truly exciting demonstration of the types of services that broadcasters will deploy across the country in the next few years, bringing a new era of television to the U.S."

During the Summer Showcase the nine channels will present 20 programs, including a wide selection of free over-the-air local and network programs as well as premium channels usually seen on cable or satellite.

Viewers will find:

·          local NBC programming from WRC (NBC Universal);

·         local Fox programming from WTTG (Fox) and local My Network programming from WDCA along with the Fox News Channel and the Fox Business Network;

·         MSNBC, CNBC and other premium programming to be announced on WPXW (ION Media Networks);

·         programming from Univision and additional premium programming to be announced and sent from facilities of WFDC (Univision);

·         PBS Mobile and PBS Kids shows from WHUT (Howard University);

·         local CBS programming and weather radar from WUSA (Gannett Broadcasting);

·         Global News and information on MHz 1, and premium programming to be announced and sent from WNVC (MHz Networks);

·         CW network shows, and entertainment/music shows from This TV and TheCOOLTV from WNUV (Sinclair Broadcast Group); and

·         mobile television programming will be fed to the nine stations and controlled at a new Mobile DTV Network Operations Center (NOC) situated at the studios of WUSA-TV. As part of the Consumer Showcase, tours of the WUSA NOC will be available by appointment to select members of the media.
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