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Mobile DTV Consortium Bulks Up

The Open Mobile Video Coalition, a consortium of broadcast station groups interested in using the digital television spectrum for mobile applications, has doubled in size with the addition of ten new member groups as well as the Association of Public Television Stations.

Cox Television, Dispatch Broadcast Group, Freedom Broadcasting, LIN TV Corporation, Meredith Corporation, Media General, Post-Newsweek Stations, Raycom Media and Schurz Communications have all joined the Coalition, which formally announced itself at the NAB convention last spring . Previous members included Belo Corp., Fox Television Stations, Gannett Broadcasting, Gray Television, ION Media Networks, the NBC and Telemundo Television Stations, Sinclair Broadcast Group and Tribune Broadcasting Company, which comprised 281 stations. The new members boost the total number of commercial stations to in the Coalition to 422, in addition to the 361 public TV stations represented by APTS.

“We are joining forces with a group of forward-thinking television leaders to explore the exciting new frontier of mobile digital television,” said Alan Frank, President of the Post Newsweek Television stations and TV Board Chairman of the National Association of Broadcasters, in a statement.  “This coalition unifies our collective goal of embracing technology that unlocks the full potential of our digital broadcast spectrum.”

To date, the Coalition has mainly promoted the business potential of providing mobile TV services through the digital spectrum and urged technology vendors to participate in the Advanced Television Systems Committee’s process for setting a U.S. standard for mobile DTV. The Coalition hasn’t formally backed any specific mobile DTV technology, such as the competing MPH and A-VSB systems from Harris/LG and Samsung/Rohde & Schwarz, respectively. But it has participated in tests of each technology, and has also set up its own mobile DTV test markets in Tampa, Fla. and Washington, D.C.

The Coalition says its overall mission is the parallel development of mobile DTV standards, devices and business models with the goal of a 2009 launch. 

“Working together on a mobile DTV standard, broadcasters can become a major factor in the mobile video arena,” said Brandon Burgess, CEO of ION Media Networks, who initially helped organize the Coalition. “We are looking forward to working with the technology industry on delivering mobile digital television to consumers.”