Dallas – Regional prepaid carrier MetroPCS
launched the first cellphone in the U.S. to receive free live mobile-DTV broadcasts
transmitted by local TV stations under the
MetroPCS has begun
offering the handset in the 15 markets where it operates its cellular network,
although TV stations in 35 markets have adopted the Dyle brand. Handset
distribution is through company-owned stores and authorized independent
retailers in the 15 markets as well as through the carrier’s website. Potential
plans for distribution through national retailers in those markets haven’t been
Dyle TV was
established by the Mobile Content Venture (MCV), a joint venture of 12 major
broadcast groups that have adopted the industry-standard ATSC-M/H format for
mobile-DTV broadcasting. Members broadcast free ATSC-M/H programming using
proprietary encryption, but the Dyle-compatible phone will also receive
unencrypted ATSC-M/H broadcasts if available.
TV plans to offer a mix of free and subscription-based programming.
In MetroPCS’s 15 markets, 46 TV stations are broadcasting Dyle-compatible programs. In the 35 markets where Dyle members operate, 92 stations are broadcasting, reaching 53 percent of the U.S. population.
Dyle-compatible phone is the $459 Samsung’s Galaxy S Lightray 4G, an Android
2.3 smartphone with 4G LTE service. It can be paired with no-contract cellular
rate plans starting at $40/month. Key features include a 4.3-inch Super AMOLED
touchscreen, 1GHz processor, 8-megapixel rear-facing camera with LED flash,
1.3-megapixel front-facing camera for video chatting and mobile hot spot. The
phone is MetroPCS’s first phone with LTE hot-spot capability.
Dyle TV features
include electronic program guide and a signal-strength meter. The phone doesn’t
include live-pause or time-shifting capabilities like a DVR, but the group is
considering these features in future products, MetroPCS said.
As for promoting
the phone, the spokesman said the handset “will appeal to our customers, and we
will put sufficient efforts behind the launch to ensure that the phone is
visible when customers are shopping online or in stores.”
MetroPCS’s 15 metro markets, which comprise
11,000 cities and towns, are: Atlanta; Boston; Hartford, Conn.; Dallas/Fort
Worth; Detroit; Jacksonville, Miami, Orlando and Tampa, Fla.; Las Vegas; Los
Angeles , San Francisco and Sacramento, Calif.; New York and Philadelphia.
In select MetroPCS
markets, up to five stations will transmit their free over-the-air mobile DTV
broadcasts for viewing on the smartphone. (A Dyle coverage map is available at www.dyle.tv/using-dyle/coverage-map/.)
Dyle-TV-compatible receivers have also been announced for shipment this year
but aren’t yet available. Computer accessories supplier Elgato plans a dongle
that lets users view Dyle-branded mobile DTV service on a connected iPhone or
iPad. Accessories supplier Belkin also announced a dongle for iPhones and
iPads. The Belkin and Elgato dongles plug into the 30-pin port on an iPhone or