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OMVC: Mobile DTV Should Be Part Of Broadband Plan

Washington

On
the heels of the Federal Communications Commission’s delivery
of a national broadband plan this week, the Open Mobile Video Coalition (

OMVC

) issued a white paper study this week on
the burgeoning mobile DTV market.

Not surprisingly, the study showed the system to be the most efficient
means of reaching millions of viewers at once with critical news and events
coverage.

The OMVC, which represents nearly 900 broadcast TV stations as part of its
constituency, called Mobile DTV “a critical ingredient” for
informing and entertaining all Americans, in the wake of a proposal to take
another portion of broadcast spectrum away from TV broadcasters to help fulfill
the FCC’s broadband goals.

“The key strength of any local TV broadcaster is that station’s ability to
respond quickly to live events and to reach millions of viewers with a single
digital broadcast transmission — a system designed to enable fast, easy, and
robust reception in viewer’s homes. Now that digital TV broadcasting is going mobile,
we strongly believe that Mobile DTV is a key ingredient in the nation’s drive
to deliver timely news, information and entertainment to our country’s
citizens. And it’s even faster, more reliable and more scalable than
information routed through the Internet,” stated Brandon Burgess, OMVC president
and ION Media Networks chairman and CEO.

The group also pointed out that FCC’s “Connecting
America: The National Broadband Plan”

report notes that “emerging
broadcast applications, such as mobile DTV and data casting, may provide an
opportunity to take advantage of the relative efficiencies of point-to-multipoint and point-to-point
architectures in order to deliver various types of content in the most
spectrum-efficient ways.”

The group said
broadcasting the signals is the best way to ensure important live news and data
casts are delivered to mobile end-users without the hiccups and hang-ups that
can come with congested broadband and 3G cellular connections.

Mobile DTV is
delivered utilizing the same infrastructure as over-the-air broadcasts for home televisions,
with special enhancements made to allow viewing on mobile devices. The
technology has even been tested in trains moving more than 150 miles per hour,
with robust reception of transmitted signals.

Forty-five U.S.
broadcast stations are already sending Mobile DTV signals and hundreds more are
expected to sign on with mobile service in the coming months.

The technology’s potential to unlock new sources of information for viewers
and new viewers for broadcasters is underscored in a new white paper just
issued by IDC. Mobile DTV has the potential to expand the reach of broadcast TV
while simultaneously relieving data networks that are overburdened with
ever-growing demands for video content. “Mobile DTV is a cultural and technical
extension of digital over-the-air broadcasting and is a spectrum-efficient
technology to deliver hugely popular content. But more than this, Mobile DTV
allows consumers to also receive local channels, programming, and advertising,
as well as relevant local and national news, emergency information, weather and
other alerts. Like over-the-air broadcasting, Mobile DTV easily makes possible
a one-to-many broadcast that instantaneously can reach millions of viewers,” said
Danielle Levitas, group VP of IDC’s consumer, broadband and digital Marketplace
team.

In the report, IDC notes that local TV broadcasting service is an integral
part of our nation’s wireless ecosystem. Free and local broadcast television
delivers services — such as local news programming — that are critical to
creating a sense of community and that no other video medium provides. Essentially
all consumers, whether they receive their broadcast stations for free over the
air or through pay television service, depend on their broadcast stations for
local programming.

“We see Mobile DTV starting as a free service, delivering broadcast channels
to viewers on the go. But the upside potential is even more interesting,
because the technology can support subscription services to premium channels, a
la carte access to other media, cached recording, localized and targeted advertising,
and more — especially when Mobile DTV is paired with great mobile devices like
netbooks and in-car entertainment systems,” Levitas
said.

The IDC white paper predicts that the number of broadcasters transmitting
with the new Mobile DTV standard will more than quadruple this year to 150
stations throughout the country, from 45 today.

Consumer electronics companies this year have already announced more than
20 new products that are poised for retail introduction as broadcasters sign
on-the-air with Mobile DTV.

IDC reports that video viewing on mobile phones is still in its infancy.
The research firm makes clear that “in IDC’s past two annual mobile
entertainment surveys, we have found the percentage of mobile phone owners that
regularly or at least once in the three prior months view TV/video on their phone
to be 2.5 percent to 5 percent of respondents.”

Of 7,000 consumers recently
queried for IDCs ConsumerScape 360 at the end of 2009, “only 2 percent reported
watching premium content/TV on their phones within the prior month. Even if we
assume the data to be underreported, it clearly is in its early stages.”

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