Mobile DTV News from the Net

Aaron62

Contributor
Staff member
#1
Found a few news articles this weekend and thought I'd start an official thread to talk about them.

Driving Mobile DTV from Coast to Coast
Stations buy gear, coordinate reception tests
By Glen Dickson -- Broadcasting & Cable, 7/12/2009 1:14:00 PM EDT
Now that mobile DTV transmission gear is commercially available, a number of stations have bought gear and are planning reception tests this summer and fall.

The most prominent market test in the near term is the seven-station trial in Washington, D.C. that gets underway later this month and is being coordinated by the Open Mobile Video Coalition (OMVC). OMVC Executive Director Anne Schelle notes that Washington will also be "an interesting test-bed" for mobile DTV reception since the seven stations
are transmitting at different power levels and also include a VHF station in WUSA; the viability of VHF channels for mobile DTV has been questioned by some engineers because of the larger antennas VHF signals generally require.

OMVC, in partnership with Association for Maximum Service Television (MSTV), will also be conducting reception testing in additional markets through August, including San Francisco, Los Angeles, Dallas, Boston and New York.

How the stations juggle the new mobile DTV streams with their existing high-definition and standard-definition services will also be a topic of interest. According to Harris VP Jay Adrick, who is helping the six D.C. stations ready their facilities with mobile DTV-capable exciters and encoders, most stations are devoting about 3.7 megabits per second of
their 19.4 Mbps DTV pipe to the mobile streams, which are encoded using MPEG-4 compression. Because the D.C. stations will be using a lot of forward-error correction (FEC) to ensure robust reception, only about a quarter of that bit-rate is available for transmitting audio and video.

"That translates into about 900 kilobits [per second] of payload, and we can put two or three services in there," says Adrick. "It's working out reasonably well."

Adrick notes that the ATSC-M/H standard allows a station to turn down the FEC and transmit a single video stream using only 900 Kbps in total. And encoder manufacturers like Harris, Tandberg and Harmonic say they
are already working with customers to compress their existing DTV services as efficiently as possible in order to free up room for mobile services.

Vendors say they are already selling mobile DTV product today.
Read the rest of the story here: Driving Mobile DTV from Coast to Coast - 2009-07-12 13:14:00 EDT | Broadcasting & Cable
 

Aaron62

Contributor
Staff member
#2
Mobile DTV Heats Up

Here's another news report from over the weekend.

Special Report: Mobile DTV Heats Up
D.C. trial begins this month; final standard likely by September
By Glen Dickson -- Broadcasting & Cable, 7/13/2009 2:00:00 AM EDT

Two years’ worth of work by broadcasters and technology vendors to develop a way for stations to transmit video to cellphones, laptops and other portable devices is starting to produce tangible results. A multi-station trial of the new mobile digital TV (DTV) technology kicks off in Washington, D.C., later this month, and a formal technical standard is expected by September. Individual stations in markets such as New York and Raleigh, N.C., are already broadcasting mobile DTV full-time, and a total of 70 stations across 28 markets have pledged to offer mobile DTV streams by year-end.

While the business models for mobile DTV are still being worked out, the technology got a boost toward commercialization last week when the Advanced Television Systems Committee, the U.S. digital TV standards body, raised the candidate ATSC-Mobile/Handheld (ATSC-M/H) standard to “proposed standard” status. A final standard could be in place by September, paving the way for consumer receiver devices to hit retail shelves in 2010.

“What we’ve all been shooting for is a complete standard by the end of the year, and there is no reason for concern in meeting that objective,” says Mark Aitken, director of advanced technology for Sinclair Broadcast Group and chair of the ATSC specialist group that drafted the ATSC-M/H standard.

Much of the standards work, including technology evaluations and field trials, has been spearheaded by the Open Mobile Video Coalition, a group of some 800 stations that have come together to promote mobile DTV. OMVC members helped broker a deal in May 2008 between consumer electronics giants LG and Samsung to avoid a prolonged standards battle between the two companies’ competing mobile DTV systems.

Since then, OMVC has kept pushing the process, announcing commercial rollout plans at the Consumer Electronics Show last January. The group selected Atlanta and Seattle as markets where “model stations” such as Gannett’s WATL and Belo’s KONG are broadcasting mobile DTV streams that vendors can use to check the performance of their products.

OMVC’s latest project is the seven-station mobile DTV trial in Washington, expected to go live by the end of the month. Participating stations include Ion’s WPXW; Gannett’s WUSA, a CBS affiliate; Fox’s WDCA; NBC’s WRC; WHUT, a PBS station owned and operated by Howard University; WNVT, the home of multicasting service MHz Networks; and WNUV, the CW affiliate in Baltimore run by Sinclair. The initial plan is for each station to broadcast a minimum of two mobile channels apiece, along with some electronic service-guide and alert data.

While initially billed as a consumer trial, the first phase of the work in D.C. will be to conduct “conformance testing” of some 20 vendors’ products, using the ATSC-M/H standard as it stood at NAB (software upgrades should be able to reconcile existing mobile DTV gear with the final standard). Real-world testing by consumers will comprise the second phase of the project and likely won’t happen until early 2010, when a meaningful volume of receiver devices should be available.
Read the rest of the story here: Special Report: Mobile DTV Heats Up - 2009-07-11 02:00:00 EDT | Broadcasting & Cable
 

O-O

DTVUSA Member
#3
While initially billed as a consumer trial, the first phase of the work in D.C. will be to conduct “conformance testing” of some 20 vendors’ products, using the ATSC-M/H standard as it stood at NAB (software upgrades should be able to reconcile existing mobile DTV gear with the final standard). Real-world testing by consumers will comprise the second phase of the project and likely won’t happen until early 2010, when a meaningful volume of receiver devices should be available.
Still a ways out for sure, "early 2010". Hopefully they're picking some markets that aren't perfect conditions for testing while they work out the bugs.
 

Trip

Moderator, , , Webmaster of: Rabbit Ears
Staff member
#4

O-O

DTVUSA Member
#5
Here's a list: RabbitEars.Info

Most of those are taken from the OMVC press release several months ago, though some have been corrected by people in the industry.

- Trip
right on, thanks Trip. well, from the looks of it, they've got a pretty diverse group of cities.

I really need a new phone and wouldn't mind one with ATSC-M/H, I just don't want to wait 6 months. Mine is practically falling apart now.
 

Trip

Moderator, , , Webmaster of: Rabbit Ears
Staff member
#6
I'm in much the same boat, except I'm hoping to wait it out. My cell phone's hinge is completely free (no resistance) but I'm waiting for the availability of a CDMA Mobile DTV phone. I plan to buy it and then bring it to my carrier to put on the network, if they'll let me. I think US Cellular will do it for me, I love that company so much.

I'm just itching to get one, even if there's no Mobile DTV signals in the area yet. I know it's coming; I'm interning at the station that's going to be "first in the group" (Schurz) to have it; possibly by the end of the year.

- Trip
 

O-O

DTVUSA Member
#7
I'm in much the same boat, except I'm hoping to wait it out. My cell phone's hinge is completely free (no resistance) but I'm waiting for the availability of a CDMA Mobile DTV phone. I plan to buy it and then bring it to my carrier to put on the network, if they'll let me. I think US Cellular will do it for me, I love that company so much.

I'm just itching to get one, even if there's no Mobile DTV signals in the area yet. I know it's coming; I'm interning at the station that's going to be "first in the group" (Schurz) to have it; possibly by the end of the year.

- Trip
Nice. I'm extremely interested to see if the ATSC-M/H tuner adds thickness to the overall size of the phone and screen resolution along with PQ. Wonder how they'll compare with the Chinese TV phones.
 

Piggie

Super Moderator
#8
I still think it's a jump to think the cell companies will be all over ATSC-M/H due to the fact their partners on the old Ch 55 now have a pay mobile TV service coming in the next generation phones (maybe some now, I don't keep up). Will they want to add a competitive service to their phones that is free and out of their control?

If they have both in a phone, Flo and MPH, they could share a broadband diode tuned receiver, but would need different decoders. If the decoding can be done totally in software with the same hardware, that improves the chances of some company like HTC that often leads the way on new phones to build one that does both.

(and aside to Trip: When the old ATT bought out the US Cell towers and customers here, US Cell was on TDMA. I think I do remember them only buying the parts of the US Cell network that TDMA. Too bad because even way back then there were the best cell in town in Gainesville back in the 1990s).
 

Aaron62

Contributor
Staff member
#11
Cell phones, other devices that enable local broadcasts being developed

msnbc.com has an article today which I've highlighted a few quotes from. The article even questions whether cell phone company's will want to add digital tuners to phones if ATSC M/H doesn't provide any additional revenue for them.

Trials are underway around the country in cities such as Chicago, New York and Raleigh, N.C. The biggest test pond will be Washington, D.C., where broadcasters have the attention of what may be the nation's most powerful audience — politicians. "We already have two stations on the air there, and we'll have the rest of our stations on air by next week," said Schelle.
"There are 250 million of them out there," said Schelle. It's not clear whether wireless carriers are as enthusiastic.
"A $200 phone can be discounted; maybe it's free, or maybe it's $50. But it costs extra to put these extra components — like a digital TV tuner — in, and if there's not revenue in there for the carriers, then why would they offer it, and at what subsidy would they offer it?" she said. "Those are the question marks."
That exposure could come via additional tech gear that could broadcast local TV, including netbooks, little laptops weighing 2 to 3 pounds.
"Consumers are certainly snapping those up, with 30 million sold over the last year-and-a-half," said Schelle. Also in line for digital TV tuners: rear-seat entertainment units in vehicles, personal media players, DVD players and regular laptops.
Dell showed a prototype of its Inspiron Mini 10 netbook with the mobile DTV tuner at the National Association of Broadcasters' meeting last spring. On July 28, Dell is slated to do a demonstration in Washington, D.C., letting lawmakers test out netbooks that have been "hand-configured" with the mobile TV technology, a company spokeswoman said.
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/31948802/ns/tech_and_science-tech_and_gadgets/
 

O-O

DTVUSA Member
#12
msnbc.com has an article today which I've highlighted a few quotes from. The article even questions whether cell phone company's will want to add digital tuners to phones if ATSC M/H doesn't provide any additional revenue for them.









Free mobile TV could be reality next year - Tech & gadgets- msnbc.com
Just like we've been saying all along. Which carrier wants to add a free service to their phone. I read the whole article, and they kind of hint at PC tuner cards jump starting the mobile DTV movement, but it doesn't exactly sound promising for cell phone owners. There has to be quite a few analog handheld TV owners waiting to buy ATSC-M/H too.
 
#13
39 percent of the country should be able to receive mobile dtv signals by 2010

39% of the population will be able to receive atsc-m/h signals by 2010. Too bad there isn't a device out yet that can receive them. ;)

I'm thinking that I will be one of the early adopters of a handheld after a few of them are available for me to choose from. I'd like to see memory card slots and maybe even a usb or rca for video output would be nice too.

By year-end, the OMVC predicts that 70 stations in 28 markets, covering 39 percent of the country, will launch mobile DTV. "We don't expect real mobile devices to be available for sale until CES time [January]," Schelle said.
The R&D markets in Atlanta and Seattle, involving two stations in each city, will give mobile receiver makers the opportunity to test prototypes of their products under actual transmission conditions. Open Mobile Video Coalition Executive Director Anne Schelle said she expects the handset devices to begin testing in the R&D markets next month.
Mobile DTV Standard Moves Forward, by Craig Johnston
 

O-O

DTVUSA Member
#15
39% of the population will be able to receive atsc-m/h signals by 2010. Too bad there isn't a device out yet that can receive them. ;)

I'm thinking that I will be one of the early adopters of a handheld after a few of them are available for me to choose from. I'd like to see memory card slots and maybe even a usb or rca for video output would be nice too.





Mobile DTV Standard Moves Forward, by Craig Johnston
Testing begins next month but I'm surprised none of the manufactures are racing to get their products out on the market. Wonder if the FCC is keeping them from selling anything with a atsc-m/h tuner until a certain date.
 
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Piggie

Super Moderator
#16
Reading between the lines, I think the devices will first be put in the hands of testers as opposed to going to Best Buy then making a lot of bad feelings if this things doesn't work.
 

Aaron62

Contributor
Staff member
#17
Reading between the lines, I think the devices will first be put in the hands of testers as opposed to going to Best Buy then making a lot of bad feelings if this things doesn't work.
I wonder how much money is being invested into the mobile dtv market between the Open Mobile Video Coalition and all of the broadcasters. Has to be in the tens of millions.
 

Trip

Moderator, , , Webmaster of: Rabbit Ears
Staff member
#18
Well, the bigger question is how much is being invested above what would be spent anyway. For example, until last Friday I was at a TV station, and we'd be in the market for a new exciter anyway, so what's the difference between an exciter with Mobile DTV and one without it? I can't imagine it's a huge difference.

Of course, I don't know what additional equipment is needed besides the exciter.

- Trip
 

Trip

Moderator, , , Webmaster of: Rabbit Ears
Staff member
#20
Probably. DVB-T is a different standard from DVB-H, but functions in much the same manner as ATSC-M/H does to standard ATSC. I think. I'm not 100% sure on that.

- Trip
 
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