US mobile TV gears up; adds Conditional Access

Mobile Digital Television is on track to reach two-thirds of US households by early 2012, as dozens of TV broadcast stations are now installing new transmission equipment that will allow live, local TV signals to reach viewers wherever they go in a local market.

Based on a new survey of member plans, the Open Mobile Video Coalition of America’s (OMVC) broadcasters have revealed that 96 stations are now on-the-air with Mobile DTV and that the total number of Mobile DTV stations is expected to grow to 126 in 48 markets by the end of the year.

In addition, OMVC confirmed that its Mobile DTV Trust Authority, managed by Neustar, is now operational and in discussions with several companies developing new Mobile DTV products operating with Conditional Access. Manufacturers of Mobile DTV capable devices are entering into agreements directly with Neustar to obtain the digital certificates and keys necessary for secure use of Mobile DTV service by these devices.

Recently, the Mobile Content Venture (MCV), a joint venture of 12 national television station groups, including Belo Corp., Cox Media Group, E.W. Scripps Co., Gannett Broadcasting, Hearst Television Inc., Media General Inc., Meredith Corp., Post-Newsweek Stations Inc. and Raycom Media, all of which are part of the standalone entity known as Pearl Mobile DTV, LLC, as well as Fox, ION Television, and NBC, announced Dyle mobile TV, its new consumer brand for services delivered through MCV member stations. Dyle mobile TV will feature content from NBC, FOX, Telemundo and ION, as well as local news, weather and other local content, across 32 markets, reaching 50 per cent of the US population in 2011.

“Our stations throughout the country are now deploying the equipment needed to bring Dyle mobile TV to millions of viewers,” said Erik Moreno and Salil Dalvi, co-GMs of MCV.

“OMVC members are making the investments needed to make Mobile DTV available to millions of viewers,” said Colleen Brown, CEO of Fisher Communications and chair of the Mobile 500 Alliance. The Mobile500 Alliance represents more than 400 local TV broadcasters who are planning to add Mobile DTV capability to their digital broadcasts. “Mobile DTV channels now being transmitted are providing viewers with the latest news, emergency weather information, traffic updates, and their favourite programmes,” Brown continued.

The OMVC’s Mobile DTV Forum is working to complete Consumer Electronics Device Profiles for new programming services later this summer. The profiles are baseline technical guidelines that will give CE manufacturers details about how broadcasters will implement new services and the inputs needed to build consumer electronics products that receive Mobile DTV. The Mobile DTV Forum comprises TV technology companies, consumer electronics firms, and broadcasters.

This coming autumn, the OMVC will initiate a model Conditional Access System in the Washington, D.C. market, a move designed to help CE companies test gear that receives, decodes, and displays mobile broadcast signals. The OMVC considers Conditional Access to be an essential element in Mobile DTV, to facilitate both robust audience measurement and the eventual deployment of subscription programming.

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