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1/6/2008
07:10 PM
Art Wittmann
Art Wittmann
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Ready Or Not, Here Comes Mobile TV

There's almost no doubt that in one way or another you'll be getting TV on your phone and other mobile devices. Last year at the consumer electronics show, Samsung laid out a technology called AVS-B. Now, archrival LG is proposing a standard of its own which is being actively trialed here in Las Vegas.

There's almost no doubt that in one way or another you'll be getting TV on your phone and other mobile devices. Last year at the consumer electronics show, Samsung laid out a technology called AVS-B. Now, archrival LG is proposing a standard of its own which is being actively trialed here in Las Vegas.LG's standard is called MPH, which stands for Mobile, Pedestrian, Handheld -- nothing like reaching for an acronym. The idea is that digital broadcasters can use a bit of the spectrum they already have to also send signals for handheld devices.

The announcement was made in conjunction with Harris Corp., which makes, among other things, the broadcasting gear often used by local TV stations. It's the partnership with Harris and a number of broadcasters (900 supposedly) that makes LG's proposal different than Samsung's. With trials in progress, the system could be ready by the digital TV cut-over date next year.

What's less clear is whether both LG and Samsung are planning to use the same spectrum. If so, the channels you get will depend on the phone you have, and conspicuously missing among LG's partners were the carriers who are hatching video plans of their own. Unless their grip loosens on handsets, you may not find MPH tuners in your next phone -- or, if it's there, it may be disabled.

LG went out of its way to point out that this form of broadcasting could revitalize local broadcasting. Depending on the scalability of the system, it also could enable new broadcasters to enter the market with small area broadcasts - say in a mall or a sports arena.

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