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OMVC lines up tools, but the big push for MoTV is yet to come

The news that the Open Mobile Video Coalition (OMVC) has launched a predictive RF modeler and an RF capture kit for testing signal quality, shows that

By PETER WHITE

Published: 30 June, 2011

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The news that the Open Mobile Video Coalition (OMVC) has launched a predictive RF modeler and an RF capture kit for testing signal quality, shows that Broadcast Mobile TV is about to be placed on the launch pad in the US. These tools, relatively minor in themselves, are necessary pigeon steps to making it easy for broadcasters to join the party in droves.

We are still waiting for some kind of trigger for ATSC M/H to take off in the US, and that could be anything from an operator endorsement like AT&T, to a major device manufacturer like LG or even the big one in Apple, including the ATSC M/H technology in a central design. An Apple involvement in the technology is everyone’s dream and would blow the market expectations to smithereens, but there has been no indication of who will provide such a trigger in the market as yet.

The two new tools were introduced at this weeks “Mobile DTV Tech Essentials” conference where the techies from consumer electronics companies were helped up to speed on how to go about including broadcast Mobile TV in devices, with good reception quality, without the need for expensive field testing.

Broadcast Mobile DTV using ATSC M/H is already available from some 75 broadcasters who have made the necessary transmission upgrades to provide the service to viewers and the OMVC is forecasting that broadcast Mobile DTV service will reach two-thirds of the US viewing public over the next year, as many more stations add Mobile DTV capability to their transmission systems.

“Mobile DTV is designed to be transmitted alongside the same digital TV broadcasts that bring local news, weather, traffic, sports, and favorite programs to viewers in high-definition. But the signal qualities of Mobile DTV are quite different from HDTV transmissions, because antennae in Mobile DTV receivers are usually lower to the ground and always on the move. Similar to the process used in the earlier development of fixed HDTV consumer products consumer electronics manufacturers can use recorded streams for lab testing of new Mobile DTV products, and the OMVC has been busy developing several new services that will help all parts of the ecosystem deploy the best system for local viewers,” said OMVC Executive Director Anne Schelle. Mobile TV has been cited by experts we have heard in the past as needing as much as 32dB better signal than plain old rooftop antenna TV.

The OMVC web site has just published a Propagation Study which reviews the reception characteristics of the mobile video service and details about the “RF Capture” program service for device manufacturers. OMVC is also releasing two other documents for broadcast engineers at this week’s Tech Essentials conference: a recommended practices document for deployment of Electronic Service Guides and a presentation about the most likely broadcast scenarios for Mobile DTV services, including 11 use cases for multiple channels at varying qualities of transmission.

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