Mobile DTV Launch Set For May 3rd In Washington, D.C.

Are you ready for yet another option in the mobile TV space? We're guessing that FLO TV hasn't even had enough time to really get a grip, but starting on May 3rd, hundreds of TV viewers in Washington, D.C. will be able to experience Mobile Digital TV.

After being tested in various markets for the better part of a year, the Mobile DTV technology is just about ready for its first wide-scale rollout, promising to bring D.C. residents their favorite TV shows on the go. The main benefit here is that this isn't much different than OTA signals now; if you use an antenna to grab ABC, NBC, CBS or FOX from your local broadcasters, this will work similarly but on mobile devices.

Mobile DTV-capable phones, media players, etc. will be able to watch local digital TV broadcasts, and an adapter will be available to bring the content to notebooks, iPhones and iPads. At first, nine stations will broadcast over 20 programs, and we're sure that will grow in time. No pricing has been announced yet, but we'll let them get through this major first push before probing too hard for more details.

Mobile DTV devices to be utilized by consumers during the Showcase include:

  • A specially modified, non-commercial version of the Samsung Moment™ mobile phone, which is built on Google’s Android platform, has a bright AMOLED screen great for indoors and outdoors, and is available exclusively from Sprint. The modified units, to be utilized by 200 consumers, are able to receive live digital TV with the built-in Samsung receiver chip;
  • Inspiron Mini 10 Entertainment prototype netbooks from Dell equipped an HD display, Mobile DTV circuitry and reception antenna;
  • Mobile Digital TV / Portable DVD Player combos from LG Electronics, which incorporate LG’s latest Mobile DTV receiver chip;
  • Tivizen Mobile DTV receivers from Valups, which receive over-the-air Mobile DTV and beam it to an awaiting Wi-Fi device (allowing Mobile DTV on products like the iPad, iPhone, laptops, and other devices.)

Nine Stations Transmitting More than 20 Programs

The programs to be transmitted on the new service include a wide selection of free over-the-air local and network programs as well as premium channels usually seen on cable or satellite. Viewers will find:

  • Local NBC programming from WRC (NBC Universal);
  • Local Fox programming from WTTG (Fox) and local My Network programming from WDCA along with the Fox News Channel and the Fox Business Network;
  • MSNBC, CNBC, and other premium programming to be announced on WPXW (ION Media Networks);
  • Programming from Univision and additional premium programming to be announced and sent from facilities of WFDC (Univision);
  • PBS Mobile and PBS Kids shows from WHUT (Howard University);
  • Local CBS programming and weather radar from WUSA (Gannett Broadcasting);
  • Global News and information on MHz 1, and premium programming to be announced and sent from WNVC (MHz Networks);
  • CW network shows, and entertainment/music shows from This TV and TheCOOLTV from WNUV (Sinclair Broadcast Group.)

Mobile television programming will be fed to the nine stations and controlled at a new Mobile DTV Network Operations Center (NOC) situated at the studios of WUSA-TV. As part of the Consumer Showcase, tours of the WUSA NOC will be available by appointment to select members of the media.

In addition to local TV broadcasters, national TV content providers are also participating in the Showcase, as are transmission and encoding vendors, consumer device manufacturers, middleware companies, a wireless carrier, and leading market research firms, including:

  • Device manufacturers LG Electronics, Samsung, Dell and Valups;
  • Network operator Sprint;
  • Global satellite operator SES WORLD SKIES, which is providing service development expertise for the Showcase;
  • TV transmitter and encoder manufacturers Harris Broadcast, Rohde & Schwarz, and Thomson Grass Valley, and encoding equipment supplier Envivio;
  • Equipment suppliers Nagravision and iSet;
  • Middleware and Electronic Service Guide providers Expway and Roundbox;
  • Component supplier Hauppauge Computer Works;
  • Professional service firms Harris Interactive, Rentrak Corporation, Tribune Media Services, and RRD;
  • The Television Bureau of Advertising (TVB) and the Ad Council;
  • Premium TV programmers Fox Cable, NBC Universal Cable, and others to be announced.

Mobile DTV is delivered utilizing the same infrastructure as over-the-air broadcasts for home televisions,with special enhancements made to allow viewing on mobile devices. The technology has even been tested in trains moving more than 150 miles per hour, with robust reception of transmitted signals. 45 U.S. broadcast stations are already sending Mobile DTV signals and hundreds more are expected to sign on with mobile service in the coming months.