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NAB: Broadcasters Target D.C. for Mobile TV Consumer Trials

Additionally, four TV stations in Atlanta and Seattle will become model stations for R&D of device interoperability

The Open Mobile Video Coalition (OMVC) said Washington, D.C. has been selected as a product showcase market for Mobile Digital Television (DTV) technology. Additionally, four TV stations in Atlanta and Seattle will become model stations for technical research and development 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 70 TV stations have signed on to deliver live television broadcasts in 28 markets by the end of 2009.

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

“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 NAB. “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.”

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.

Four model stations—two each in Atlanta and Seattle—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 1. 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 Corp., Rohde & Schwarz, Roundbox Inc. and Triveni Digital are supplying Mobile DTV transmission equipment and making available their technical expertise to the stations.

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. 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 consumer electronics makers like LG, Samsung, Kenwood, Visteon and now Dell.

“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.”

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.