Open Mobile Video Coalition Launching Mobile Digital TV Consumer Showcase in Q1 2010

Tuesday, January 5th, 2010 

New Dell Inspiron Mini 10 Netbook; Samsung Moment™ Mobile Phone from Sprint; LG Mobile Digital Television; and Tivit™ for Current Wi-Fi Phones, Laptops Among Devices to be Used by Consumers

WASHINGTON — A real-world showcase to gauge consumer interest in Mobile Digital Television begins in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area in the first quarter of 2010, with eight local area television stations transmitting up to 20 channels of free and premium broadcast TV programming to hundreds of mobile devices that will be used by actual viewers and local residents. The Dell Inspiron Mini 10, a new mini netbook computer, the Samsung Moment™ mobile phone, LG Mobile Digital Television and Wi-Fi Accessory Tivit™ are among the Mobile DTV-enabled devices that will be made available to showcase participants in the nation’s ninth-largest media market. Local and national programming from familiar network broadcasters will be available in the event organized by the Open Mobile Video Coalition (OMVC), a 29 station group organization representing over 800 TV stations that are now working to make Mobile DTV a reality for millions of viewers.

The Samsung Moment™, exclusively from Sprint, will receive live digital TV using Samsung’s Mobile DTV Chip, the world’s first single-chip solution for the recently approved Advanced Television Systems Committee (ATSC) Mobile Digital TV standard. The Mobile DTV-equipped Samsung Moment™ was selected for a showcase with Sprint customers in the Washington, D.C. and Baltimore markets beginning in the first quarter of 2010

Mobile DTV applications to be tested, under a recently approved technical standard, include favorite live, local television programs just as they are transmitted to DC-area homes, interactive broadcasts made possible by the new Mobile DTV standard, and lifesaving emergency alerts for weather incidents and other unforeseen events. Market research of the showcase is sponsored by LG Electronics and Samsung, with Harris providing lead transmission technology support for the project. Additional equipment is being provided by transmitter manufacturer Rohde & Schwarz. Consumer Showcase participants will also receive additional services, such as premium channels and data applications – depending on the device.

“We are rolling out the Consumer Showcase because of the unprecedented cooperation between all of the companies that have worked hard to make Mobile DTV a reality. Washington, D.C. broadcasters along with LG Electronics, Samsung, Dell, Harris, Rohde & Schwarz, and many other firms have stepped forward to lead this initiative, which enjoys tremendous industry support and believe that mobile television broadcasting will deliver to viewers exactly what they’ve been clamoring to receive,” said Brandon Burgess, OMVC President and ION Media Networks Chairman and CEO.

Key to the success of the Consumer Showcase will be the unparalleled cooperation of each element in the broadcast-to-viewer chain:

  • Handset manufacturer Samsung Mobile will provide 300 Mobile DTV-equipped Samsung Moment™ mobile phones for the Showcase;
  • Dell Computer will supply hundreds of Mobile DTV equipped netbooks for consumers;
  • LG Electronics will supply battery-powered Mobile Digital TV sets for viewers;
  • The OMVC itself partnered with device manufacturer Valups to create a unique device called the Tivit™ that will be used to enable existing Wi-Fi devices such as laptops and smartphones to watch the new Mobile DTV signals;
  • Washington area stations participating are WDCA-DT (Fox Television Stations); WUSA-DT (Gannett Broadcasting); WPXW-DT (ION Media Networks); WRC-DT (NBC Universal); WHUT-DT (Howard University/PBS); WNVT-DT (MHz Networks); WNUV-DT (Sinclair Broadcast Group); and WFDC-DT (Univision Communications);
  • Major transmitter manufacturers Harris and Rohde & Schwarz have worked with the eight local Washington, D.C. broadcast TV stations to upgrade their equipment to transmit up to 20 channels of content utilizing the new Mobile DTV system;
  • Electronic Service Guide and software tools for audience measurement will be deployed by Expway and Roundbox, two leading Mobile DTV middleware companies;
  • Global satellite operator SES WORLD SKIES is providing trial coordination support.

During the Washington, D.C. Consumer Trial the OMVC is planning an evaluation of quantitative and qualitative usage for each of the selected device platforms. The purpose of the trial is to understand factors that may motivate greater usage of Mobile DTV, early adoption, propensity to tolerate pay services, interactive services and usage patterns, as well as to learn more about the core qualitative aspects of the user experience from pre-adoption to post-usage insights.

“We expect Mobile DTV to be very popular with younger viewers, given the popularity of mobile devices with ‘millenials’ from 18 to 29. A recent survey by the OMVC indicates that young adult viewers will watch more local TV if they can watch it where they live, work, and play. People like the idea of catching the latest news, weather, entertainment, and sports event or live weather reports on a mobile device. Television has grown beyond the HDTV that’s tethered to the living room wall. Consumers are mobile and it’s time for us to move with them,” said Gannett Broadcasting Division President Dave Lougee.

“Samsung Mobile is excited to be an integral part of this trial by offering consumers the ability to enjoy free, live TV and more on a mobile phone for the first time in the U.S. Samsung’s Mobile DTV chip enables efficient, low-power reception of live broadcast mobile TV, and its revolutionary ultra-brilliant AMOLED screen technology on the Moment will enhance consumers’ experience by allowing them to enjoy best-in-class clarity and brighter, more vivid colors both indoors and in daylight,” said Dale Sohn, President of Samsung Mobile. “This opportunity allows Samsung to advance its leadership and commitment to bring new, innovative technologies to the U.S. market.”

“The Dell Inspiron Mini 10 with built in Mobile DTV technology will be the perfect solution for watching local TV broadcasts on the go, like catching the morning news and weather while riding a commuter train,” said John Thode, vice president, small screen devices, Dell. “Devices like the Inspiron Mini 10 are the multi-tool of personal technology for digital nomads who want to be connected and productive, but also want instant access to a great entertainment experience.”

The Washington Consumer Showcase comes on the heels of the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, where more than a dozen companies are introducing a variety of new Mobile DTV products that they plan to roll out in the coming year. Technologies on display at CES include netbooks equipped with Mobile DTV; battery-operated Portable Mobile TV Sets; Mobile DTV USB Receivers for Laptop computers; a unique Wi-Fi Access Point for Mobile DTV Reception; prototype cell phones with Mobile DTV; demonstrations of Electronic Service Guides and Interactivity (Voting, Polling, Web access); and displays of transmission and test equipment for broadcasters.

Unlike current mobile TV offerings that are subscription-only and largely offer only pre-recorded shows, Mobile Digital TV from local broadcasters offers real-time coverage of local breaking news, local weather, and local emergency alerts in addition to favorite network programs shows that consumers really want to watch. With some 30 stations already on the air, broadcasters are now upgrading their transmission systems to offer a variety of Mobile DTV channels

For the past three years, OVMC has been working hand-in-hand with broadcasters and manufacturers to support the development of the Mobile DTV standard. It also spearheaded trials of Mobile DTV by stations across the country.