Mobile Digital TV Gadgets To Roam CES Floor

Broadcasters are hoping to build momentum for their mobile TV initiative at International CES 2010 next week with the debut of several devices designed for the ATSC's Mobile DTV spec, including an LG Electronics portable TV/DVD player and a gadget that rebroadcasts mobile TV over Wi-Fi.

The Open Mobile Video Coalition (OMVC), representing more than 800 local TV stations, led the ATSC's development of a mobile digital TV broadcasting standard. The OMVC plans to launch a customer trial in Washington, D.C., in 2010.

A handful of devices built for the ATSC Mobile DTV spec will be on display at the OMVC-sponsored CES Mobile DTV TechZone at the Las Vegas confab, which is set to run Jan. 7-10.

LG will be showing the DP570MH Mobile Digital Television with DVD player has a 7-inch-wide screen (with a Wide QVGA resolution of 480 x 234), which folds down to about 9.5 by 6.5 inches (about the size of a small hardback book). The portable TV is to be available in 2010 at a suggested retail price of $249.

The LG mobile TV has two earphone jacks -- allowing two passengers to watch TV in the back seat of the car or on a train -- and has a removable battery that powers the device for up to 2.5 hours in TV mode or up to 4.5 hours during DVD playback. In addition, the DP570MH can play audio CDs, display JPEGs and play WMA music files from a USB 2.0 connection.

Another Mobile DTV gadget set to reach U.S. markets in 2010 is the Tivit, an accessory that receives mobile ATSC television signals and rebroadcasts them to Wi-Fi devices using the Real-Time Streaming Protocol (RTSP). The 2.8-ounce device has a rechargeable battery able to run for three hours of continuous TV reception.

The Tivit is being manufactured by Korea's Valups, and OMVC said it is partially funding the development of the product for U.S. viewers. The Tivit will be available later this spring and is expected to carry a suggested retail price under $120. The product works with Apple iPhone and iPod Touch devices, BlackBerrys with Wi-Fi, and Windows PCs via proprietary client applications.

In addition, Korean consumer-electronics company Cydle will be showing off the P29A, which combines a multimedia player and support for the ATSC Mobile DTV standard. The Cydle P29A, with a 2.9-inch touchscreen, is slated for introduction in the second quarter of 2010, for an estimated retail price of $199.

At some point, the OMVC also is hoping to tap into in-car TV systems, although at CES the consortium won't have anything to show on this front. Market research firm iSuppli forecasts about 17.6 million television systems for cars will ship in 2015, up from 8.2 million this year.