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CEA Forms Mobile DTV Group

The Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) has formed a “Special Interest Group” to support the Advanced Television Systems Committee’s (ATSC) effort to create a new mobile digital television standard that will allow stations to broadcast to cell phones and other mobile and portable devices.

CEA says the group will attempt to speed the development of the ATSC Mobile/Handheld (M/H), or A/153 standard, by fostering industry dialogue, educational programs and unified messaging; and by promoting the development and use of technical standards and best practices documents.

More important, The Special Interest Group for ATSC M/H will also help facilitate discussions with suppliers of technologies specified by the standard and arrange meetings between CEA members and broadcasters by working with organizations like the Open Mobile Video Coalition (OMVC), a collection of more than 800 local stations that has been driving much of the standards process.

“CEA is organizing this Special Interest Group for ATSC M/H to assist the consumer electronics community in understanding the technology and market dynamics,” said Brian Markwalter, CEA vice president of technology and standards, in a statement. “CEA is excited to work with members to accelerate this innovative extension to our DTV system.”

For its part, the OMVC, which has been coordinating mobile DTV tests in partnership with the ATSC, applauded the move.

“Yesterday’s creation of a Mobile DTV Standard Group by the Consumer Electronics Association is a strong signal that we are very close to a full-fledged market for digital mobile television,” said Brandon Burgess, OMVC president and ION Media Networks chairman and CEO, in a statement. “We expect the CEA’s recognition of the potential and maturity of mobile DTV technology – coupled with the ATSC’s commitment to approve an M/H standard -- to further accelerate the development of handheld devices, content and other applications. Consumers are even closer to having real-time, full-motion broadcast television on mobile and handset devices.”

The OMVC and the ATSC have both said their goal is to have a final mobile DTV standard ratified no later than the second quarter of 2009.