Washington – After three years of waiting, Mobile
Digital Television -offering free, live streaming digital TV to portables –
came closer to reaching the market. An official standard for the technology was
approved by the Advanced Television Systems Committee (ATSC) late Thursday.
In addition, LG Electronics assigned an early 2010 release date
for one of the first products to use the standard – a portable DVD
player/personal digital TV combo.
Mobile DTV uses the same digital spectrum as local TV stations
for HD programming and allows the broadcast of the same programs to portable
Broadcasters are already testing or airing the service in 29
markets, expected to grow to 70 by the end of the year, according to Anne
Schelle, executive director of Open
Mobile Video Coalition (OMVC), the trade group supporting Mobile DTV.
The OMVC held demonstrations of Mobile DTV today in Washington
for government officials in a bus traveling around the Capitol. LG demonstrated
prototypes of GSM and CDMA handsets as well as its combo portable DVD/TV, it
said, as seven Washington-area broadcasters transmitted Mobile DTV programming.
LG is also mass-producing semiconductor chips for use in LG and
Other Mobile DTV products expected early in 2010 from various suppliers
include PC dongles, smartphone accessories and possibly netbooks, said the
OMVC. Later, handsets and in-car products will be offered.
Kenwood, which has demonstrated Mobile DTV tuners for the car in
the past, said, “Our testing has shown that it works extremely well. We’ve been
many, many miles from downtown Chicago and had signal,” said Mike Bergman,
chairman of the special interest group for ATSC MH (now called Mobile DTV) for the
Consumer Electronics Association. He is also Kenwood’s VP of new digital
technologies. Bergman added that the technology also works well at very high
The ATSC Mobile DTV standard allows broadcasters to use a portion
of the existing 19.3Mbps DTV channel capacity to transmit data with very robust
characteristics suitable for mobile, pedestrian and handheld products, said LG.
In addition to live streaming simulcast TV under the new Mobile
DTV standard, broadcasters can air additional programming on sub channels, such
as HD2 and HD3, similar to multicasting in HD Radio, said Bergman. The new
standard also includes technologies for interactivity and for subscription
services, he added.
Mark Richer, president of ATSC, said, “To meet the technological
challenges of sending digital television services to mobile and handheld
devices within the existing DTV transmission was an impressive achievement made
possible by industry cooperation.”