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B’casters Set Mobile TV Tests With SES Americom

LAS VEGAS — The Open Mobile Video Coalition alliance of TV broadcasters announced it plans to work with SES Americom’s IP-Prime video-distribution unit to test two new mobile digital television technologies in separate consumer trials in 2008.

The alliance will test the Mobile-Pedestrian-Handheld (MPH) platform, jointly developed by LG Electronics and Harris, and the A-VSB platform developed by Samsung Electronics and Rohde & Schwarz.

The trials will include technical evaluation of each technology, as well as test consumers acceptance, behavior and preferences regarding potential mobile television services and performance criteria.

Formed in April, the Open Mobile Video Coalition, is an association of 20 television broadcasters that own and operate more than 450 commercial television stations, as well as the Association of Public Television Stations, which represents an additional 360 public television stations.

In the tests, planned for several markets, a sample of consumers will be able to watch a selection of local and national programming and access interactive services, using various mobile and portable receiver devices, such as cellphones, personal media players and laptop computers.

SES Americom will provide mobile broadcast network platform services, and aggregate and distribute national content. The satellite operator had also provided programming for a mobile-TV trial in Las Vegas with Aloha Partners, which sold its spectrum holdings to AT&T.

In MPH trial markets, Harris will provide MPH in-band digital television transmission equipment, and LG will provide MPH consumer receiver devices. In A-VSB trial markets, Samsung’s partner, Rohde & Schwarz, will provide transmission equipment based on the A-VSB in-band mobile digital television system, while Samsung will supply A-VSB consumer devices. Additional partners in the A-VSB trials include interactive service provider MobiTV, which yesterday announced a 24/7 mobile service with ESPN, and network equipment provider Nokia Siemens Networks.

The alliance said details of the consumer trials will “further enhance the understanding of market-related issues” on how to launch mobile digital TV.