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NAB: Mobile DTV Takes Center Stage in Vegas

Complete Coverage: 2012 NAB Show

With launches of mobile DTV services expected to begin this summer, broadcasters, vendors and technology organizations will be out in force at NAB demonstrating the technology and new devices to receiving the signals.

Demos of mobile DTV technologies can be found at the Mobile DTV Pavilion, which is sponsored by the Open Mobile Video Coalition (OMVC) and at the ATSC Tech Zone run by Advanced Television Systems Committee as well as at the booths of various vendors.

The demonstrations are particularly notable because the two broadcaster-backed groups who are planning to launch service this year will be showing more complete versions of what their mobile DTV platforms will look like.

Both demonstrations will occur at the Mobile DTV Pavilion, where the Mobile Content Venture will display its Dyle Mobile TV mobile DTV offering on a variety of devices and the Mobile500 Alliance of stations will be showcasing mobile DTV system that will be soft launched this summer on Fisher Communication's KOMO and in the Minneapolis-St. Paul market on Hubbard Broadcasting's KSTP-TV station.

"With more than 120 stations now on the air with mobile DTV signals and two new business groups ramping up for launch, now is the time to see the new products and services that will make mobile DTV an indispensable service," said Vince Sadusky, president of the OMVC and CEO of LIN Media in a statement. "A new range of Mobile DTV receivers will be bringing mobile viewing innovations to viewers across the country, making local news, weather, sports, entertainment and emergency alerts immediately available to people no matter where they are located."

The Mobile Content Venture, a joint-venture of 12 major broadcast groups, has previously announced alliances with consumer electronics manufacturers to bring new mobile DTV-capable devices to market and to develop external devices that will allow existing iPads and smart phones to receive live broadcast signal.

The Mobile500 Alliance, which is made up of 50 member companies that hold licenses to 437 TV stations, will demonstrate its solution that offers live TV, DVR type functionality for recording live TV, on demand programming, social media integration, closed captioning and interactive advertising.

Also included in the Mobile500 solution are new tuner devices, which are small adapter/dongles for iPads and iPhones that will be shown at NAB. They will be available through online retailers in the summer of 2012.

Separately, the Mobile500 also announced that four new public television stations had joined its membership: WTTW/Chicago, Maryland Public Television, Public Broadcasting Atlanta, and New Mexico.

Other public stations already in the alliance include: MHz Networks/Washington, DC, WGBH/Boston, and Twin Cities Public Television/Minneapolis-St. Paul.

WGBH, Public Broadcasting Atlanta, and New Mexico PBS are already broadcasting Mobile DTV.

The new members increase the reach of Mobile500 stations to 94% of the U.S. homes.

"When we founded Mobile500 in late 2010, our bylaws explicitly opened membership to all television broadcasters," noted Colleen Brown, president of the Mobile500 Alliance Board of Directors and president and CEO of Fisher Communications in a statement. "We are delighted that these leading public stations have joined out ranks and hope more will make the same decision,"

Dan Schmidt, president and CEO of WTTW Chicago, said the decision to join Mobile500 came after the WTTW board formed a special committee to consider the best options for using WTTW's broadcast spectrum. "We concluded that Mobile DTV held the most promise for extending our brand and services to new audiences, and we liked the open, entrepreneurial approach of Mobile500," he said in a statement.

LG Electronics, PBS and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, will also demonstrate the Mobile Emergency Alert System (M-EAS) that use mobile DTV broadcasts to alert mobile DTV devices.

Other vendors at the Mobile DTV Pavilion include Siano, which delivers comprehensive mobile broadcast DTV solutions and receiver chips; Crest Technology, which is offering mobile DTV-compliant hardware and software solutions; DTVinteractive, which will show head-end solutions for broadcasters.

Additional mobile DTV demonstrations will be available at the ATSC TechZone. Here, LG will demo the transmission of 3D broadcasts over mobile DTV; Canadian educators and engineering students from Ryerson University will showcase interactive Mobile DTV prototype technology that utilizes ATSC's A/153 Mobile DTV standard; and Germany-based Decontis is demonstrating a Simple Network Management Protocol enabled monitoring solution that analyzes and monitors all aspects of Mobile DTV and ATSC broadcasts.

The TechZone will also feature a number of technology improvements in DTV broadcasting and ATSC president Mark Richer noted in a statement that the organization would be extremely active at NAB with demos and sessions highlighting the future of broadcast technologies.

"More than 20 educational sessions and presentations involving ATSC standards are planned [during NAB] with the capabilities and future needs of TV broadcasters taking center stage at the annual meeting of broadcasters," he noted. "ATSC is also one of the leading organizations driving the global ‘Future of Broadcast TV' (FoBTV) initiative and is pushing that project forward to chart the long-range future of television, enhancing the experience for broadcasters and viewers."

A FoBTV progress report session is planned for Tuesday morning, April 17, in Room S222 in the South Hall of the Las Vegas Convention Center.

Companies offering demos at the TechZone include Dolby Laboratories, which will be showing closed captioning solutions while Samsung Electronics and the Korean Broadcast System (KBS) will demo 3D TV broadcasts. KBS will also showcase some of the new features of ATSC 2.0.

In addition, The Electronics and Telecommunications Research Institute (ETRI) will show a Non-Real-Time (NRT) terrestrial high quality 3D-TV broadcasting system and Linear Acoustic is planning a demo on compliance with the Commercial Advertisement Loudness Mitigation (CALM) Act.