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Florida to Test Mobile DTV for Disaster Info

Test Begins June 1 for Hurricane Season

The National Association of Broadcasters, Florida Association of Broadcasters and the Dyle mobile DTV consortium will team with the Florida Division of Emergency Management on a test during hurricane season, which starts June 1.

The pilot program was announced Friday at the Florida International University, Wall of Wind Research Center.

According to NAB, stations in more than 140 cities are delivering local TV to smartphones and tablets. There have been storm-related issues with cell service, which the FCC has been investigating given the increasing reliance on mobile devices. But with TV tuners, those devices — phones, tablets — can still get emergency info via local broadcast TV when cellular voice or broadband service is down.

“The unfortunate reality is that during an emergency weather situation, local broadcasters are often the only reliable source of information,” said NAB president Gordon Smith in a statement accompanying the announcement. “It is common for cell phone networks to become over-loaded, resulting in customer delays in receiving valuable, timely information. Meanwhile, cable and Internet connections can be spotty. But because of broadcasting’s robust ‘one-to-everyone’ transmission architecture, mobile TV is designed to deliver live and local news and information to mobile devices reliably and without interruption.”

Up to 100 devices will be supplied to the state’s emergency response team to use in case of emergency.

“Providing timely information is a key element in our communication strategy, and we’re grateful to Dyle mobile TV, the NAB, the FAB for giving SERT a chance to test mobile TV’s emergency response capabilities,” said Bryan Koon, director, Florida Division of Emergency Management, according to NAB.

— John Eggerton, Multichannel News

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