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Mobile DTV Takes Spotlight During NAB Show

4/23/2012 12:01:00 AM Eastern
LAS VEGAS – The Open Mobile Video Coalition (OMVC) took NAB Show spotlight to present the latest development in the nascent broadcast technology for handheld TVs.

The association charged with promoting products and services using the ATSC A/153 Mobile DTV Standard — the updated over-the-air ATSC-M/H broadcast system that adjoins the ATSC digital television broadcasts system for in-home uses — showcased products and services that employ two-way back-channel support to enable, among other things, premium TV programming, and potentially glasses-free 3D content transmissions and interactive feedback.

Two groups of broadcasters joined the OMVC in a special Mobile TV Pavilion at the trade show to present their own nuances to system, delivering different approaches to device authentication for audience measurement and gate keeping.

These include the Mobile Content Venture (MCV) and the Mobile500 Alliance.

New receiving devices based on the ATSC A/153 standard were presented in a variety of different platforms, from receivers for the car, portable TV products, iPad accessory receivers and other mobile products designed to bring the convenience of Mobile DTV services to viewers wherever they go.

The MCV, currently representing 12 major broadcast groups, will showcase its Dyle Mobile TV system and service that will launch later this year on a range of devices, including smartphones.

Dyle-compatible devices will launch in 2012 across 32 U.S. markets, reaching 50 percent of the population. Consumers will be able to watch live broadcast programming at launch, and there are plans for additional network programming and hardware to be added in the future.

The Mobile500 Alliance, which is comprised of 50 member companies representing 437 TV stations, will demonstrate its next-generation end-to-end solution for monetizing mobile DTV. This incorporates live TV and recording of live TV, video on demand, social-media integration, closed captioning and interactive advertising, the group said.

As for device manufacturers, LG Electronics, in cooperation with PBS and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, will demonstrate the Mobile Emergency Alert System (M-EAS).

LG is the supplier of Mobile DTV receiving chips for many products and M-EAS is a developing broadcast system for delivering multimedia alerts that utilize video, audio, text and graphics to mobile DTV-equipped cellphones, tablets, laptops, netbooks and in-car navigation systems.

The OMVC released at the show results of a viewership study it commissioned through Rentrak showing families with children to be among the heaviest users of early forms of Mobile TV devices. The heaviest Mobile DTV viewers (top 33 percent) had the highest percentage of children living at home, while the lightest viewers (bottom 33 percent) had the lowest percentage, the OMVC said.

In addition, a 2011 survey of tablet users by Google AdMob showed that 82 percent of respondents said they primarily used their tablet while at home. With the majority of tablet sales consisting of Wi-Fi-only devices, Mobile DTV has the potential to extend the connectivity and functionality of tablets outside of Wi-Fi hot spots, the OMVC said.

MCV demonstrated the Samsung-made Android 2.3 smartphone operating on the MetroPCS cellular network.

Another MCV device is a Belkin dongle that plugs into the 30-pin connector of Apple’s iPhones and iPads. Both devices use an app to select local Dyle stations and view electronic program guides (EPGs).

LG’s prototype device is an Android 2.3-based smartphone based on the company’s Optimus Vu platform. Like the Samsung-MetroPCS phone, it uses a Dyle TV app developed by MobiTV. The LG phone also features a 5-inch diagonal high-definition screen.

Meanwhile, Siano, a provider of Mobile DTV broadcast DTV solutions and receiver chips, will be exhibiting cellphone devices outfitted with its Mobile DTV receiver chips and middleware.

Crest Technology will show Mobile DTV-compliant hardware and software solutions that can be adapted for portable receivers such as tablet computers, car navigation equipment and USB adapters. These include Mobile DTV-ready front-end module embedded with RF and baseband ICs with software A/V codec on various portable product platforms such as tablet PCs.

DTVinteractive will show head-end solutions for broadcasters, including a multiplexer module, a demodulator module ideal for signal repeaters and a server-client monitoring system. — Additional reporting by Joseph Palenchar
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