[opendtv] U.S. broadcaster gives thumbs up to mobile TV spec

  • From: "Manfredi, Albert E" <albert.e.manfredi@xxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: <opendtv@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Mon, 10 Nov 2008 10:48:20 -0500

I think this is great. Whether or not this mobile service will take off,
when the various DVB-H ones have reportedly not, is a big questionmark.
But to me, this seems like a really good way to introduce the equivalent
of HM into ATSC, and better yet, to do so with adjustably small impact
on the bandwidth available to the regular SD or HD channels.

John Shutt, you guys lobby to get this into standard receivers, and
you'll be able to cut power for  maintenance work, or whatever, without
having to lose your audience.


U.S. broadcaster gives thumbs up to mobile TV spec
ATSC standard praised for good reception, low cost

Rick Merritt
(11/10/2008 12:01 AM EST)
URL: http://www.eetimes.com/showArticle.jhtml?articleID=212001367

SAN JOSE, Calif. - A large U.S. television broadcaster has announced
good results from recent trials in Chicago and Denver of mobile TV using
a draft standard from the Advanced Television Systems Committee (ATSC).
Ion Media Networks, Inc. said it found it relatively easy to set up two
mobile channels in each city and reception was better than expected.

The Open Mobile Video Coalition (OMVC), an alliance of local and
national TV broadcasters, hopes to see members roll out commercial
mobile TV services late next year. To date mobile TV services using
other technologies have failed to deliver and grow a market among
cellphone, notebook and car video users.

"We are sold on the viability of the [ATSC] service," said Brett
Jenkins, director of technology strategy and development for Ion Media.
"We are very confident this technology will work, and it's viable to put
in consumer's hands," he added.

Ion Media's stations WCPX and KPXC have been multicasting two standard
definition mobile channels since August. LG Electronics and Harris
Corp., whose technology was selected for the ATSC standard, provided
prototype mobile TV receivers and transmission equipment for the tests.

"We are very encouraged by the strong and growing support for mobile DTV
within the U.S. broadcast community, as exemplified by the
groundbreaking trials by Ion Media," said Woo Paik, president and chief
technology officer of LG in a prepared statement.

"We're seeing fantastic reception out to as far as 40 miles from
transmitters, and beyond that we have good transmission outdoors but
it's not consistent indoors," reported Jenkins.

Reception was also good in cars at freeway speeds and indoors within 40
miles of transmitters. "We went into parking garages where there were
three or four levels of concrete above us, and reception was
perfect--that was one of the big technical lessons," said Jenkins.

Spectrum availability was not a problem in the trial. One station in the
trial supports an existing high definition terrestrial broadcast,
another supports multiple existing standard def channels.

"It took us just four hours to put the system up in Denver," said
Jenkins. "We plugged the boxes in at the transmitter site, and that
afternoon we were driving around testing it," he added.

Costs were in line with ATSC estimates of about $125,000 for a
two-channel system. "By comparison people looking to set up new networks
in the 700 MHz space will have to spend much more money," Jenkins said.

Ion Media did not attempt to use Internet links to create a back channel
for the mobile TV broadcasts, a job one broadcaster said could generate
significant costs and complexities. The company also did not gather any
market data as part of its tests, something other broadcasters are
expected to do in early 2009.

Users may find mobile TV broadcasts compelling without support for any
Web links, Jenkins said. He said some of the failed experiments in
mobile TV to date have been due to lack of support for local TV

"All the research shows what [mobile] consumers want is to see what's on
their TV at home," Jenkins said.

Ion Media will continue broadcasting its mobile TV channels and is
conducting more tests of indoor reception. "We are not in a position to
announce [commercial] services," said Jenkins.

The target is to have the technology and standard be ready to support
service launches in 2009, said Anne Schelle, executive director of the
OMVC. "This demonstration is another example that broadcasters are
marching toward that goal," she added.

The ATSC plans to formally approve its mobile TV standard on November
25. Chip and systems makers are expected to roll out before the end of
2009 a new generation of products geared for commercial offerings,
replacing the prototype hardware used in current trials and shown at CES
in January.

"You will see at CES devices from automotive manufacturers, but clearly
2009 is when [commercial] devices will get developed," said Schelle.

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