Michelle Clancy ©RapidTVNews | 23-09-2011

Mobile DTV is getting ready for a nationwide programming launch with a set of comprehensive device profile guidelines to assist consumer electronics manufacturers in developing mobile DTV products.

The idea is to create a Wi-Fi-like standardised ecosystem that, along with standard logo branding on the devices, should aid consumers in the adoption of the mobile video service.

The profiles were developed by the Open Mobile Video Coalition (OMVC), which is devoted to kick-starting the rollout of mobile DTV, which will bring free-to-air linear mobile TV streams from local affiliates to smartphones and tablets. The profiles are baseline technical guidelines that give manufacturers details about how broadcasters will implement new services and the details needed to build consumer products that receive mobile DTV.

"We see tremendous value in standardizing the way devices and receivers should behave in the field, ensuring the best possible user experience," said Itzik Klein, Siano Mobile Silicon director of marketing. Siano is one of the companies providing mobile DTV chipsets.

"As the concept of mobile digital television becomes a commercial reality, consumer electronics manufacturers need guidelines on receiver device features and functionalities that will provide robust reception capability and interoperability with broadcasters," said Anne Schelle, OMVC executive director, in a statement.

Schelle also said that the OMVC is paving the way to accomodate paid programming within mobile DTV. It will initiate a model Conditional Access System in the Washington, D.C. market, a move designed to help electronics companies test their receiver implementations to properly receive, decode and display mobile DTV broadcast signals. Conditional Access is an essential element in Mobile DTV to facilitate both audience measurement and the deployment of paid programming like video on demand (VOD).

"Conditional access is a control system to protect content from viewing by unauthorized parties, to permit robust audience measurement and to enable potential subscription services," Schelle explained. "Mobile DTV content will be a combination of free viewing and paid viewing."

The device profile guidelines provide two product scenarios, one for the basic service and the other for receiving paid programming. Both address elements that the OMVC believes are crucial to mobile DTV success: the addition of conditional access, service/audience measurement and IP connectivity.

Because OMVC anticipates that some mobile DTV services will use service protection, both profiles require support for conditional access. In both cases, manufacturer registration with a Mobile DTV Trust Authority is required so that unique digital certificates can be issued to each mobile DTV receiver as it is made.

"Receiver guidelines are vital to manufacturers in assuring that the mobile DTV products we bring to market deliver the best consumer experience," said LG Electronics' Jong Kim, president of the Zenith R&D Lab. "The device profiles are important, because consensus among manufacturers and broadcasts about crucial features, compelling services and advanced capabilities will be a key to mobile DTV's success going forward." LG Electronics' Mobile DTV chips are now in a number of commercially-available Mobile DTV products.