Washington, D.C. to be Mobile Television Consumer Showcase

Monday, April 20th, 2009 

Atlanta & Seattle Established as Technical Mobile DTV R&D Markets; Dell Unveils Mobile DTV-Enabled Netbook

LAS VEGAS — At the 2009 National Association of Broadcasters Show, the Open Mobile Video Coalition (OMVC), an alliance of U.S. broadcasters dedicated to accelerating the development of Mobile Digital Television (DTV), announced today that Washington, D.C. has been selected as a product showcase market for Mobile DTV technology. Additionally, four TV stations in Atlanta and Seattle will become model stations for technical research and development (R&D) of device interoperability.

The OMVC’s goal is to bring mobile television to American consumers, using digital transmission over broadcast TV facilities. In addition to the Washington consumer showcase and the Atlanta and Seattle model stations, the OMVC said that seventy TV stations have signed on to deliver live television broadcasts in twenty eight markets by the end of 2009.

The OMVC further announced that Dell Inc. is joining the line-up of prototype devices from LG Electronics, Samsung Electronics and Kenwood USA, with its brand new netbook, the Inspiron Mini 10.

“The Mobile DTV ecosystem we are encouraging brings new opportunities to broadcasters, device manufacturers, as well as consumers,” said Brandon Burgess, OMVC President and ION Media Networks, Inc. Chairman and CEO. “Dell joining the R&D process with its exciting new netbook is a reminder of just how far we have come. This broadcast Mobile DTV-powered device would have been unthinkable a year ago.”

“We’re completely impressed by how quickly these television broadcasters and equipment makers are moving to bring Mobile DTV to market,” said David Rehr, President and CEO of the National Association of Broadcasters. “Their combined commitment to moving our industry forward is formidable. The industry is clearly embracing Mobile DTV as an exciting next step in the evolution of digital television broadcasting.”

Consumer Market Trial and R&D Markets to be Activated

The consumer trial in the greater Washington, D.C. metro market, encompassing the ninth U.S. media market and surrounding areas, will go live in late summer, permitting broadcasters to showcase and test programming, services and features of the new Mobile DTV technology. The trial will help prepare broadcasters for the full commercial deployment of services scheduled for later this year. Fox Television Stations’ WDCA-DT, Gannett Broadcasting’s WUSA-DT, ION Media Networks’ WPXW-DT, NBC Universal’s WRC-DT, PBS’ WHUT-DT and MHz Networks, Sinclair Broadcast Group’s operated WNUV-DT and National Datacast are initial participants. The coalition anticipates adding more stations to the trial in the near term.

David Lougee, President, Gannett Broadcasting Group, commented, “Broadcasters recognize that the successful launch of Mobile DTV will make broadcast TV practically ubiquitous. The beauty of the technology is that all parties involved stand to profit. By establishing the consumer trial and R&D model stations, the broadcast community is essentially sending an invitation to device manufacturers: Come test prototypes, build out products and get on board this fast-moving value train that is Mobile DTV.”

“Mobile DTV is an exciting new platform and growth opportunity for broadcasters. NBC Universal envisions developing new revenue streams in partnership with our affiliates, delivering compelling content to our viewers, and providing increased value to our advertisers,” commented John Eck, OMVC Executive Committee member and President of NBC Network and Media Works. “We’re excited to be working with the Coalition to conduct the first consumer trials of this new technology.”

Four model stations – two each in Atlanta, Georgia and Seattle, Washington – will be activated to serve as extensive system test and validation markets for device interoperability. WPXA-DT, an ION Media-owned ION Television station serving Atlanta, signed on with mobile services on April 1st. Atlanta’s WATL-DT, a Gannett-owned MyNetworkTV affiliate, plus Seattle’s KONG-DT, a Belo-owned independent station, and KOMO-DT, a Fisher-owned ABC affiliate, are slated to begin full time broadcast of Mobile DTV signals this spring. These model stations will enable manufacturers to develop and test products that meet broadcaster, electronics manufacturer and consumer requirements for the projected launches and future services. Harris Corporation, Rohde & Schwarz, Roundbox, Inc. and Triveni Digital are supplying Mobile DTV transmission equipment and making available their technical expertise to the stations, which represent the nation’s eighth and fourteenth largest media markets.

End-to-End Mobile DTV Infrastructure is Here; Dell Unveils Netbook Form Factor

Prominent companies such as LG, Samsung, Harris and Rohde & Schwarz have all contributed to the technology’s advancement by producing a highly efficient ecosystem for broadcasting to mobile and portable devices. These companies strive to simplify the Mobile DTV infrastructure connection points, which include acquisition content processing, encoding, multiplexing, encapsulation, modulation, network adaptation and overall system management, thus delivering services that will meet or exceed the end-user’s expectations.

Additionally, a range of prototype devices – navigation units, mobile phones, DTV-ready notebook computers, handheld digital TVs, aftermarket in-vehicle video players and MP3 players – incorporating Mobile DTV technology have been created by innovative consumer electronics makers like LG, Samsung, Kenwood, Visteon and now Dell.

“Dell is an industry leader in bringing integrated TV capability to the notebook and netbook categories worldwide, including support for several over-the-air digital broadcast standards on the Dell Inspiron Mini 10,” said John Thode, Vice President, Dell consumer products – small screen devices. “We believe Mobile DTV is an important development for the broadcast community and its affiliated industries and endorse ATSC Mobile DTV as the emerging standard for the U.S.”

70 TV Stations in 28 Markets Ready for ’09 Deployment

Twenty one charter broadcasters – Belo Corp., Capitol Broadcasting Company, Cox Television, Dispatch Broadcast Group, Fisher Communications, Fox Television Stations, Gannett Broadcasting, Gray Television, Hearst-Argyle Television, ION Media Networks, LIN TV Corp., Media General, Meredith Corp., NBC Universal, PBS, Post-Newsweek Stations, Raycom Media, Schurz Communications, Scripps Television Station Group, Sinclair Broadcast Group and Sunbeam Television – have committed to launching Mobile DTV services in 2009. Spanning 70 stations in 28 markets, the dedicated broadcasters will cover about 39 percent of U.S. television households. The early launch stations are comprised of 16 NBC affiliates, 10 ABC affiliates, 12 CBS affiliates, six FOX affiliates, nine ION Television affiliates, nine PBS member stations, four CW affiliates and four MyNetworkTV affiliates.

Flexible System Architecture, Variety of Business Models & Limitless Convenience Opportunities

In November 2008, the ATSC approved the Candidate Standard for Mobile DTV. The Candidate Standard is the result of an intense development effort involving the OMVC and participants from all over the world and across television and mobile device industries. The final steps in the ATSC standardization process for Mobile DTV are expected to be complete in mid-2009.

Mobile DTV’s benefits include crisp picture, high-speed mobility and a wealth of live, local and national programming at pedestrian and vehicular speeds. The technology will simultaneously support many different services and business models, such as linear and interactive video, as well as free ad-supported and pay services. With content from both traditional media and Web sources, these services will be part of the Mobile DTV experience, just as they are part of consumers’ experience at home. And, as the technology is widely introduced, the need for accurate audience measurement to correlate user demographic information with traffic patterns like those offered by Nielsen and Rentrak will become increasingly valuable in this new new media space.