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Public Wants Mobile DTV, Claims OMVC

12/21/2009 02:00:00 AM Eastern

Mobile DTV, a new live and free TV service for portable electronics expected to see a market launch at International CES, is garnering consumer favor, according to a study commissioned by the Open Mobile Video Coalition (OMVC), which promotes the technology.

Mobile DTV is in the early stages of deployment, with about 30 broadcasters (out of a total 1,600) testing or airing the service and leading suppliers such LG Electronics expected to offer portable Mobile DTV products (including those for use in the car) starting early next year.

A survey by Magid Media Labs, which interviewed 1,000 adults, found that 88 percent expressed interest in watching live local TV on a mobile device and more than three-quarters of adults would most likely watch Mobile DTV on a laptop, netbook, cellphone or smartphone.

Nearly half of adults are interested in buying a new portable with Mobile DTV service, said the study, and of those adults with children in the household, nearly a third (31 percent) said they would give the mobile device to their child to watch in the car.

Mobile DTV uses the same digital spectrum as local TV stations for HD programming and allows the broadcast of simulcast programs to portable devices. It differs from current Advanced Television Systems Committee (ATSC) TV broadcasts because it works well even in motion, so it may be used by pedestrians in handhelds or in the car in portables or fixed devices.

A standard for Mobile DTV was passed in October by the ATSC allowing for a free service, although the technology permits tiered programming so broadcasters may elect to add subscription and pay-per-view programming.

The study also found that “Millenials” (age 18 to 29) are twice as likely to watch local news if it's on a portable. While only 26 percent watch news at home, 52 percent said they would view it on a mobile device, said the OMVC.

Also, more than a third (36 percent) of those surveyed expressed interest in watching movies or sporting events on a mobile device on a pay-per-view basis. Additionally, 49 percent said they would watch commercials on a portable device.

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