Mobile TV gets closer to reality in U.S.

Michelle Clancy ©RapidTVNews | 20-01-2012

While take-off has been slow, The Open Mobile Video Coalition has announced that about 120 TV stations in the US are now on-air with mobile digital signals, which represents an increase of more than 70% since last year.

Mobile TV (based on the ATSC-MH standard), which offers a way for local TV affiliates to broadcast their signals to a mobile device, should be a big story this year. Mobile TV can be either a free and over the air service like traditional local TV, or be offered as an encrypted, branded pay-TV service.
In the latter camp, the Mobile Content Venture, made up of NBC, ION, Fox and nine local station owners, including Belo, Cox, and Hearst, is promising to launch its service, branded "Dyle," later this year with multiple 24-hour channels, and MetroPCS, the nation's fifth-largest wireless carrier, will market Dyle with a new Samsung smartphone. For now, MCV is working on deals with more carriers and device-makers to expand mobile TV's prospects.

In addition to Samsung, Belkin and RCA are entering the mobile TV ring with the introduction of a dongle for iOS devices and the MIT700 Android-based receiver, respectively. Meanwhile, LG also on Mobile TV at CES, with an application called Tweet-TV, which offers a way to log public comments about specific broadcasts, interact with program content and create short messages with video and audio, for a "transparent conversational overlay" to the service.
Industry analyst Ovum added a caveat to the momentum however: "These initiatives are loaded with execution risk thanks to the ecosystem/business model/OTT competition/consumer demand/spectrum allocation challenges that we have all documented."