OMVC Reports Positive Progress on Mobile DTV

Monday, April 14th, 2008

Initial Field Trials Demonstrate Viability and Promise of Mobile Broadcasting

LAS VEGAS — The Open Mobile Video Coalition (OMVC) announced today that the broadcasting industry is on track to develop standards and launch services for mobile digital television (mobile DTV) in 2009. The group stated that recent Independent Demonstration of Viability (IDOV) trials showed that DTV-based mobile video technologies are feasible.

“We are on schedule for the 2009 rollout of commercial mobile DTV,” said Brandon Burgess, president of the OMVC and C.E.O. of ION Media Networks. “The mobile field trials are an important milestone in setting a standard for this incredibly promising technology, and our industry is pulling together in an unprecedented way to realize the promise for broadcasters and American consumers. I’m grateful for the leadership of OMVC members and our partners and for their help in realizing the vision of mobile DTV.”

The OMVC is an association of commercial and public television broadcasters representing over 800 television stations, which came together in 2007 to accelerate the development of mobile digital television. The opportunity inherent in this new technology is significant. A recent, comprehensive marketplace study projected a potential $2 billion annually in mobile digital television advertising revenue – if broadcasters move quickly. They must agree on a single standard by early 2009 – approximately the same time that TV stations in the U.S. must complete their transition to digital-only broadcasting – and begin rolling out mobile DTV services by the end of 2009.

“We are laser-focused on finalizing a technology standard for mobile DTV, and working with technology companies and service operators to launch services beginning next year,” said Anne Schelle, executive director, OMVC. “Mobile DTV represents a unique opportunity to make the most of the industry’s greatest assets – our spectrum and content – and I’m pleased that we have made incredible progress so far on all fronts, engaging broadcasters, device makers and carriers in a unified effort to make mobile DTV a reality.”

OMVC has been working with the Association for Maximum Service Television (MSTV), the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) and the Advanced Television Systems Committee (ATSC) for the past six months to conduct trials for pedestrian and high-speed mobile digital television reception. OMVC initiated the IDOV trials at ATSC’s request to accelerate the adoption of an effective, mobile DTV standard. ATSC is the recognized standard-setting body for this kind of technology.

The field trials were conducted in March and April of 2008 in the San Francisco Bay Area and Las Vegas. Additional lab testing will be completed over the next several weeks. OMVC is confident that it will complete the IDOV field and lab tests and have results available in time to meet the mid-May timeframe established by ATSC. The trials constitute a critical first step toward the ATSC’s adoption of a standard that will enable broadcasters to launch mobile DTV services that will effectively serve the American public.

Preliminary and partial results of the trials have been encouraging, and include the following findings:

  • Mobile DTV is feasible: The trials show that both High VHF and UHF mobile reception works at pedestrian and highway speeds.
  • Mobile reception can be achieved as far as 40 miles from the transmitter.
  • None of the systems interfere with normal digital broadcasting.

The three systems that have been subjected to preliminary testing and evaluation are: the MPH (Mobile-Pedestrian-Handheld) system jointly developed by LG Electronics and Harris Corporation; and the A-VSB system jointly developed by Samsung Electronics, Co. Ltd and Rohde & Schwarz; and a third system jointly developed by Thomson and Micronas (T/M).

All data will be compiled and evaluated for a final report to the ATSC in May. Next steps will include further testing and consumer trials.