The US is set to see mobile TV become reality in late 2009. The Open Mobile Video Coalition has announced that they’re on track to go live with free mobile DTV broadcast in Fall 2009. The over-the-air broadcast would be made available for viewing to anyone with a compatible mobile DTV receiver – a stark departure from wireless carriers’ practice of offering subscription-based mobile TV streams over their wireless network.
Broadcasters have committed to launching mobile DTV broadcasts with 63 TV stations across 22 US cities. The station breakdown will consist of “14 NBC affiliates, nine ABC affiliates, nine CBS affiliates, five FOX affiliates, nine ION Television affiliates, four CW affiliates and four MyNetworkTV affiliates, along with nine additional PBS stations that are in discussions with the OMVC to join the 2009 launch.” It’s safe to say that the mobile TV broadcast initiative will offer something for just about every demographic.
Other parts of the world have been enjoying terrestrial mobile TV broadcasts for some time now, but the mobile TV push has largely failed to catch on with any real significance. It remains to be seen whether or not free broadcasts will help drive mobile TV uptake in the US. With the economy in the toilet and consumers looking to save a buck whenever they can, the prospect of free mobile TV might be enough to coax users to try it out – after they buy the compatible hardware, that is…
Full press release after the break.
OMVC Demonstrates Future of Mobile DTV and Details Initial Broadcaster Roll-Out Plans
63 TV Stations in 22 Markets Reaching 35% of U.S. Households to Launch in 2009
2009 International CES
LAS VEGAS–(BUSINESS WIRE)–The Open Mobile Video Coalition (OMVC), an alliance of U.S. broadcasters dedicated to accelerating the development of mobile digital television (DTV), today announced the first wave of broadcasters that have committed to launching mobile digital television services in 2009. Timed to an OMVC press conference held at 2009 International CES, broadcasters have declared their intention to launch mobile DTV across 63 stations in 22 markets, covering 35 percent of U.S. television households. The new technology will provide live, local and national over-the-air digital television to consumers via next-generation portable and mobile devices at pedestrian and vehicular speeds. Of the 63 stations, there will be 14 NBC affiliates, nine ABC affiliates, nine CBS affiliates, five FOX affiliates, nine ION Television affiliates, four CW affiliates and four MyNetworkTV affiliates, along with nine additional PBS stations that are in discussions with the OMVC to join the 2009 launch (see attached table).
“Following a very smooth ATSC Mobile DTV standard setting process, broadcasters are on track to deliver local and national broadcast television to mobile audiences,” said Brandon Burgess, OMVC President and ION Media Networks Chairman and CEO. “The collaboration and dedication among TV broadcasters on this project has been gratifying, enabling us to meet our goal of making mobile broadcast DTV a reality in 2009.”
“Broadcasters should be recognized for seizing an opportunity to provide the entertainment and public service benefits of live, local television coverage to mobile consumers,” said David Rehr, President of the National Association of Broadcasters. “Consumers want to utilize mobile devices to follow news and sports, as well as local, regional and national emergency announcements and other content that they have come to expect from their local television stations. The roll-out of mobile DTV will give them the opportunity to experience all of those benefits.”
“Broadcasters are well positioned to dramatically improve the mobile video experience. Broadcaster-provided mobile DTV will give consumers local-station programming in a true digital format. It will also give broadcasters the opportunity to participate in this service using their own channels,” added David Lougee, President of Gannett Broadcasting.
John Eck, OMVC Executive Committee member and President of NBC TV Network and Media Works commented, “Mobile DTV will expand the reach of our content, provide consumers with more flexibility in how they access news, sports and entertainment programming, and open the door to a new world of possibilities for our advertisers. It’s a true pleasure to be working on the development of this exciting new broadcast initiative.”
“For a relatively small capital outlay, broadcasters can upgrade their existing transmission infrastructure to offer multiple channels of entertainment, news and public affairs programming. This truly marks a new day in mobile broadcasting,” said Vince Sadusky, President and CEO of LIN TV.
To showcase the consumer experience of Mobile DTV and the technical feasibility of the ATSC Mobile DTV Candidate Standard, the OMVC conducted a live demonstration on the opening day of CES at the Las Vegas Convention Center. The demo involved multiple Las Vegas-based television stations broadcasting popular local and national TV programs, music video, along with local sports and public affairs programming, to ATSC compliant devices produced by LG Electronics and Samsung Electronics, and using transmission equipment manufactured by Harris Corporation.
The robust and flexible ATSC Mobile DTV Candidate Standard supports over-the-air delivery of digital broadcast content to next-generation devices such as cell phones, laptop computers, handheld PDAs, portable media players and gaming devices. The standard also extends a variety of automotive opportunities, ranging from factory-installed in-vehicle entertainment systems to dealer-installed and aftermarket entertainment systems, as well as GPS systems enriched with local broadcast receiver capabilities. In the months to come, the OMVC will conduct extensive interoperability testing and trials in various markets nationwide.
The OMVC and ATSC recently announced acceptance of a Candidate Standard for mobile DTV that will be tested in multiple market trials during 2009, revised as needed and proposed as a final standard by mid-year. Working together on an exceptionally fast-track schedule, the groups have met every milestone and goal they established.
ABOUT THE OPEN MOBILE VIDEO COALITION
The Open Mobile Video Coalition is a voluntary association of television broadcasters whose mission is to accelerate the development of mobile digital television in the United States. The OMVC is composed of twenty-three members that own and operate over 450 commercial television stations, as well as the Association of Public Television Stations, Corporation for Public Broadcasting and the Public Broadcasting Service, which represent an additional 360 public television stations. Membership in the OMVC is open to all U.S.-based television broadcasters. Members are committed to fostering open competition in the development of products and services related to television. For more information, please visit http://www.omvc.org.
OMVC MEMBER COMPANIES
Association of Public Television Stations
Morgan Murphy Media
Capitol Broadcasting Company, Inc.
NBC Universal — NBC Station Group
Corporation for Public Broadcasting
Dispatch Broadcast Group
Public Broadcasting Service
Fisher Communications, Inc.
FOX Television Stations
Schurz Communications, Inc.
Freedom Broadcasting, Inc.
Scripps Television Station Group
Sinclair Broadcast Group Inc.
Gray Television Inc.
Sunbeam Television Corp.
Hearst Argyle Television, Inc.
ION Media Networks, Inc.
OMVC MEMBER ASSOCIATIONS
LIN TV Corp.
Association for Maximum Service Television
Media General Inc.
National Association of Broadcasters
OMVC Market Roll-Out Stations
Attached is an overview of the initial wave of participating member groups and station owners, shown both by station groups as well as by TV markets. These companies may also issue individual statements providing details on their plans as they become available.
The list attached focuses on initial roll-outs in the top 100 U.S. markets – the OMVC expects broadcasters to also roll-out in smaller markets.
The roll-out plans will be managed by each of the member companies in coordination with the OMVC in its role as facilitator of the technology standard process. The OMVC is working to ensure that a consensus technology is available for electronics manufacturers, transmission equipment producers, as well as participating broadcast stations.
See attached OMVC Station Launch Markets chart.