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LG, Samsung Unite For Mobile DTV Standard

Seoul, South Korea — The contest for selection of the nation’s digital television transmission system for mobile reception appeared to be over Wednesday after rivals LG and Samsung said they will cooperate on a jointly developed mobile DTV broadcast system for the North American technology standard.

The two companies had been engaged in a fierce contest to have their rival mobile DTV systems accepted for the U.S. standard next year. Both systems — LG’s MPH and Samsung’s A-VSB — had been demonstrated at recent trade shows including the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) Convention and International CES.

The cooperative relationship is also expected to give the resulting broadcasting system a stronger voice along side other mobile video broadcast systems, such as Qualcomm’s MediaFLO, which is currently used to carry premium video content through supporting mobile phone carriers. LG and Samsung see their joint broadcast system as complementary to those other services, an LG spokesman said.

To celebrate the cooperative agreement, Samsung and LG held a signing ceremony at Seoul Plaza Hotel in Seoul, Korea, with LG’s president and chief technology officer Woo Paik, and Samsung’s digital media business president JongWoo Park presiding.

The companies vowed to “cooperate in order to assure rapid adoption by the Advanced Television Systems Committee (ATSC) of a single common in-band mobile DTV standard,” according to a statement announcing the decision.

Technology for the jointly proposed system will reflect the findings of the Independent Demonstration of Viability (IDOV) conducted by the Association of Maximum Service Television (MSTV) on behalf of the Open Mobile Video Coalition (OMVC). A report on IDOV will be submitted by the OMVC to the ATSC. The OMVC is a group of U.S. broadcasters who are vigorously promoting the development and early deployment of mobile DTV.  

The companies said the joint mobile DTV solution will use the existing terrestrial digital TV broadcast bandwidth, with no impact on existing digital TV and with minimum broadcasting equipment investment.

“LG and Samsung are already world-class in digital TV and mobile communications,” said LG’s Paik. “Through this collaboration, we also have an opportunity to lead the North American mobile DTV market.”

Park added, “Our collaboration on North American mobile DTV standardization will help accelerate the ATSC standardization of mobile TV technology, which will benefit both consumers and broadcasters.”

ATSC is expected to adopt the mobile/handheld DTV standard for the North American market in early 2009 following trials of the technology by the OMVC.

The companies cited a recent study commissioned by the NAB that indicated the adoption of a single ATSC mobile/handheld DTV standard could open the U.S. market to adoption of some 130 million mobile DTV phones by the end of 2012, with the market for portable media device mobile DTV receivers growing to include an additional 25 million units.