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Mobile TV to get boost in 2008

With industry leaders collaborating to introduce a new mobile broadcast TV technology platform, demonstrations and consumer trials in 2008 will give a powerful boost to new mobile services, and offer huge potential spin-offs for broadcast TV and related industries.

Samsung Electronics, MobiTV, Nokia Siemens Networks, Rohde & Schwarz and SES Americom’s IP-PRIME plan to demonstrate a national distribution platform to enable mobile TV services in the United States utilising local broadcast TV spectrum.

The platform is planned to be used to showcase a complete mobile TV technology solution in 2008, with consumer trials planned in U.S. cities to be announced later. The platform will deliver local and national programming and interactive applications to consumers on mobile devices “in-band,”” i.e., through local TV stations’ existing transmitters and spectrum.

That was then: Samsung’s first mobile phone TV, released in 1999

The joint activity,first announced at the International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas this month, will help U.S. broadcasters who are now selecting an open standard for in-band mobile broadcast TV and will pave the way for commercial launch of mobile broadcast TV services in 2009. It will enable local TV broadcasters to realise the value of their spectrum, bringing significant new business opportunities to the broadcasting, advertising, wireless, digital media, interactive services, and consumer electronics industries.

The platform will use Advanced Vestigial Sideband (A-VSB), a backward-compatible enhancement of the existing U.S. digital TV broadcasting system, to empower local TV stations’ broadcast spectrum to reach mobile audiences. The mobile service platform is based on open standard specifications defined by the Open Mobile Alliance (OMA) BCAST 1.0.

OMA BCAST is a globally interoperable mobile TV service layer specification suite that is currently being implemented by many system and terminal manufacturers and application software developers. Using the combination of the best-in-class technologies A-VSB and OMA BCAST, the platform will enable broadcasters to deliver digital media, such as entertainment, news, sports, children’s shows, and public safety notifications, to phones, PCs, portable media players, car entertainment systems – anything equipped with an A-VSB receiver chip.

A-VSB is currently being considered by the Advanced Television Systems Committee (ATSC) as an open standard for mobile broadcast TV. A-VSB is the leading mobile broadcast technology under review by the ATSC – the first proposed, the first publicly demonstrated, and the first to be implemented in integrated receiver chips. In combination with the global application standard OMA BCAST, which maximises interoperability and economies of scale for applications and services, A-VSB will be ready for rapid deployment by broadcasters at low capital investment and no cost to buy new spectrum.

The partners in the project have released the following statements:

Samsung: “”As the inventor of A-VSB, Samsung is proud to have shown the way forward to empower U.S. local TV stations for mobile broadcasting,”” said John Godfrey, Vice President of Government and Public Affairs, Samsung Electronics. “”Since proposing A-VSB to the ATSC in 2005, we have never wavered in our commitment to set an open standard for the benefit of broadcasters, manufacturers, and consumers. The all-star team announced today will enable mobile broadcast TV to reach American consumers sooner and at less cost than anyone dreamed possible only a short time ago.””

MobiTV: “”We see A-VSB as complementary, not competitive, to wireless services,”” said Alan Moskowitz, director of strategic alliances for MobiTV, Inc. “”By relying on existing TV spectrum to deliver bandwidth-intensive video to mobile devices, wireless service providers have a new option for providing TV to their subscribers. In addition, MobiTV’s interactive application and VOD delivery platform will enable a new class of services combining broadcast TV and mobile data networks.””

Nokia Siemens Networks: “”The success of any new technology depends on the level of interoperability between suppliers and the ease-of-use for consumers. Using open standards is a catalyst for rapid adoption of new technologies,”” said Harald Braun, Head of Convergence Business Team, Nokia Siemens Networks. “”Nokia Siemens Networks will deliver an open standards- and OMA BCAST-compliant service platform for mobile broadcast TV as part of the cooperative demonstration to enable a high quality end-user experience.””

Rohde & Schwarz: “”Rohde & Schwarz will provide broadcasters with the required exciters, transmitters and test solutions to easily convert their existing ATSC transmission infrastructure to enable A-VSB services,”” said Eddy Vanderkerken, Director of Broadcast Sales, Rohde & Schwarz America. “”Our technology includes a proven Single Frequency Network tool that allows broadcasters to use multiple synchronized transmitters to provide enhanced service coverage. Broadcasters, manufacturers and developers can continue to rely on Rohde & Schwarz for test and measurement solutions to support their activities in A-VSB just as they have relied on us to support them with solutions for the ATSC and other worldwide standards.””

SES Americom: “”SES Americom is pleased to be collaborating with this impressive group of best-in-class technology partners: SES will contribute by aggregating the national content, integrating the encoding, security and service guide data into the national services, and providing the satellite delivery backbone to participating broadcast stations,”” said Bryan McGuirk, President of North American Satellite Services for SES Americom. He continued, “”By integrating our partners’ standards-based technologies and software, we expect to demonstrate a robust, end-to-end mobile broadcast TV solution that will accelerate its commercial launch in 2009.””

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