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10/19/2009
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Mobile Digital TV Standard Approved

The move will enable broadcasters to deliver live and on-demand programming to mobile devices.

The Advanced Television System Committee approved a mobile digital television standard Monday that could pave the way for a variety of new mobile devices capable of watching live and on-demand programming.

The committee, which oversees TV standards in the United States, approved the ATSC mobile DTV standard. The transmission system is based on Vestigial Side Band modulation and an Internet Protocol-based transport system. The programming will be transmitted with the MPEG AVC video codec, and the committee said these services can be carried in existing digital broadcast channels without negatively impacting legacy equipment.

The move will enable broadcasters to give users over-the-air live programming, as well as file-based content that can be downloaded for later consumption. The standard could also offer multiple business models like advertiser-based or subscription-based, the committee said.

"This milestone ushers in the new era of digital television broadcasting, giving local TV stations and networks new opportunities to reach viewers on the go," said Paul Karpowicz, president of Meredith Broadcast Group, in a statement. "This will introduce the power of local broadcasting to a new generation of viewers and provide all-important emergency alert, local news, and other programming to consumers across the nation."

The move could lead to a boon of new devices like smartphones, laptops, and personal gaming machines that can play the new standard, and it could help boost the adoption rate of mobile television in the United States. This type of service is extremely popular in places like Japan, Korea, and parts of Europe, but it has yet to gain significant traction in the U.S. market due to lack of services and devices, commuting differences, and other factors.

Mobile TV has been getting a big push lately in the United States though, as Flo TV recently rolled out its nationwide network and it is targeting cell phones, mobile devices, and cars. AT&T, Sprint Nextel, and Verizon Wireless have also invested heavily in mobile TV services for their handsets.


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