WRAL to Broadcast Local Mobile Digital TV Signals

Wednesday, July 23rd, 2008

Digital television pioneer WRAL and the CBC New Media Group are sponsoring North Carolina’s first field test of mobile digital television (DTV) technology in the Raleigh-Durham television market this week.

The test will demonstrate the new MPH™ system, which allows local broadcasters to deliver digital television to mobile devices including cell phones, laptops and personal media players. The ATSC-compatible MPH system allows users to watch their favorite broadcast programs on the go–even when traveling in fast-moving vehicles.

“This is another exciting demonstration of the power of digital television,” said James F. Goodmon, CEO of Capitol Broadcasting Company. “This is great for WRAL and for the industry as digital provides a complete viewer experience from crystal clear high definition television for the home to superb mobile quality for the car and handheld devices. Mobile DTV broadcasting enables WRAL to better serve our viewers, communities, and advertisers by providing a strong combination of anywhere access, two-way communication, and mobility.”

The Triangle field trials will be conducted July 21-25 in cooperation with LG Electronics Inc., Zenith and Harris Corporation (NYSE:HRS) — developers of the MPH system, which is the leading candidate for the new mobile DTV standard now being finalized by the Advanced Television Systems Committee.

“With this new mobile DTV capability, WRAL adds yet another chapter to its unsurpassed record of industry leadership in digital television broadcasting, and Harris is proud to collaborate with WRAL on this significant industry first,” said Jay Adrick, vice president, broadcast technology Harris Broadcast Communications.

“In 1996, Harris worked with WRAL-DT as the first DTV station in the U.S. Two years later, when John Glenn made his historic return to space, Harris worked with WRAL to conduct the first live HDTV broadcast of a space shuttle launch to audiences nationwide. Today, mobile DTV is set to be the industry’s next big thing, and once again, WRAL is leading the charge–by working with Harris to deliver local news, weather and traffic information to North Carolinians on the go,” he said.

“‘First in Flight, First in Digital’ should be the motto for North Carolina, thanks to WRAL” said Dr. Jong Kim, president of LG’s U.S. R&D subsidiary, Zenith. “The landmark mobile TV field trials in the Raleigh-Durham market this week build on WRAL’s long-time pioneering role in DTV broadcasting. LG Electronics applauds CBC for its vision and foresight, preparing now for next year’s commercialization of mobile/handheld DTV broadcasting.”

Two channels of specially encoded video will be broadcast over WRAL-DT for reception by prototype mobile handheld receivers. The test will demonstrate how consumers will be able to enjoy mobile DTV reception anywhere–in the car, in the backyard or on the move as a pedestrian.

“Mobile DTV broadcasting is a major part of our future and we are excited to demonstrate the MPH system,” said Jimmy Goodmon, Vice President and General Manager of CBC New Media Group. “We look forward to deploying a fully standardized system that builds on MPH and includes all of the interactive functionality mobile viewers will expect.”

The MPH system takes advantage of digital television’s multicast capabilities. The same signal that brings over the air HDTV to viewers’ homes will simultaneously deliver mobile television to handheld or other portable devices. More than 200 million portable devices are expected to be sold in 2008.

Not only does the new system provide mobility for consumers, it dramatically increases the potential audience for local broadcasters. A study by BIA Financial projects that mobile TV represents a $2 billion opportunity for broadcasters over the next five years.

WRAL-TV and Capitol Broadcasting Company are part of the Open Mobile Video Coalition, which is a nationwide group of broadcasters driving the deployment of mobile digital broadcast television. Commercial deployments are forecast for 2009.