Dyle Mobile TV Receiver Cuts The Hardline

Dyle, the over-the-air mobile digital TV venture backed by a dozen major broadcasters, said its service is now positioned to reach a much broader ecosystem of smartphones and tablets following the debut of a new mobile TV receiver from Audiovox.

The receiver, called "mobiletv" and developed by Siano, is a departure from the first round of Dyle-compatible TV receivers, which could only plug into older iPads and iPhones via their 30-pin hardline interfaces. The new Audiovox receiver, when paired with the Dyle app, captures the over-the-air Dyle TV signals and passes them along to iOS and Android-powered devices using an integrated Wi-Fi radio.

The new product “is important because it’s compatible with a lot more devices,” said Salil Dalvi, the co-general manager of the Mobile Content Venture (MCV), the J.V. that operates Dyle.

Because it no longer requires a hardline connection between the viewing device and the specialized Dyle-compatible antenna, the Audiovox receiver can be placed near a window or another area that allows the integrated antenna to receive the strongest Dyle signal, he added, noting that this marks the first accessory that is compatible with Android devices.

Audiovox mobiletv also supports a program guide, pause/rewind trick-play features, and an internal battery that provides up to four hours of TV viewing, according to Dyle. The suggested retail price on the new device is $129.99, though Amazon is already marketing it to Prime members for $99.99, (opens in new tab) though the listing notes that the product is "Temporarily out of stock. Order now and we'll deliver when available."

Dyle, considered by some as a broadcaster-led hedge against services such as Aereo, doesn’t deliver its mobile TV signal service over broadband or cellular networks, but instead uses a portion of the traditional broadcast spectrum to beam encrypted, live digital-TV signals that are optimized for mobile devices. Dyle has previously estimated that broadcasters must spend about $100,000 on upgrades, primarily encoders, to deliver the mobile TV feed alongside the primary HDTV broadcast signal.

Dyle is currently available in 38 U.S. markets that cover about 57% of the U.S, but typically supports only a subset of the available over-the-air digital TV channels in those markets. Dyle’s backers include Belo, Cox Media Group, Raycom Media, Media General, Meredith Corp., ION Television, Fox, E.W. Scripps, Gannett  Broadcasting, Hearst Television, and NBC.

The Dyle service is currently free to anyone with the right equipment, but the J.V. also has the ability to implement an authentication model that will offer it only to consumers who also receive pay-TV services. “We think that [authentication] will be the business model in the future,” Dalvi said.

Dyle has not revealed how many consumers use the service or have downloaded its app. In June, Dyle, citing data compiled by Rentrak’s TV Essentials service, said that the average Dyle mobile TV device tuned in for more than 20 minutes per day, with local and national network news representing more than half the viewing time in some local markets.