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Yesterday, Ion Media, a broadcaster behind an effort to create a new way to deliver over-the-air broadcast television to mobile phones, announced a successful test of a new mobile digital television standard. Because when you have a laughably small number of mobile television viewers, you may as well try a different standard in hopes that it will succeed where others have failed. The standard, created by the Advanced Television Systems Committee, has succeeded in trials at easily delivering broadcast television to mobile phones, using existing spectrum. However, the content won’t be linked back to the Internet — this version of mobile TV turns your phone or other portable devices into a mini-TV.
The ATSC standard will compete with Qualcomm’s MediaFLO technology that AT&T and Verizon use to deliver mobile television to subscribers, but unlike MediaFLO, it doesn’t require a separate network to broadcast the shows. A group of broadcast networks, LG Electronics and Samsung are part of a coalition called the Open Mobile Video Coalition working with the ATSC to create a single standard for delivering mobile television to cell phones and other devices by 2009, when the switch to digital television is complete.
The ATSC plans to formally approve its mobile TV standard later this month. Chips and systems will be available before the end of 2009. Initial offerings are likely to appear in the automotive space. I have tons of questions about this service that I’m trying to get answered and will update y’all if any of the parties gets back to me.