US local mobile TV pushes on despite FLO demise

Regular local broadcasts over mobile TV are coming on special devices by the end of 2010 and should reach phones within the next few years, backers of a nationwide US initiative stated at the CTIA Enterprise & Applications show in San Francisco, undeterred by the recent failure of FLO TV.

The Open Mobile Video Coalition (OMVC), a group that represents more than 875 local TV stations, says it has lined up more than 70 stations across the country to broadcast over a portion of their existing frequencies using a standards-based system designed for mobile reception. An LG Electronics DVD player that works with the system is set to ship in the next few weeks for $249, said OMVC spokesman Dave Arland. A variety of USB dongles for laptops, and a dedicated handheld receiver with Wi-Fi, will ship in time for the end-of-year holidays, he said.

The OMVC’s system is focused on TV stations broadcasting their regular programming to mobile devices rather than putting together a special line-up of shows specifically for mobile viewing.

In trials in Washington this year, consumers have embraced this approach because it makes it more convenient to see the kind of TV they already watch, the OMVC said. In particular, they liked watching local TV. OMVC has finished a market trial there using a prototype mobile phone and is conducting tests with other devices, including a prototype netbook from Dell.

Results from the trial show that about 60 per cent of users watched while travelling and 42 per cent watched while at work or school. Local news was the most-watched type of programming, followed by reality shows and entertainment news. The 150 participants in the test had access to 23 channels from nine broadcasters. About 63 per cent used the service on a daily basis.

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