The hardware/software vendor says it has a better way for TV stations to broadcast programming to mobile devices than the much-publicized A-VSB, but it is not ready to provide details.
Samsung and Rohde & Schwarz have attracted a lot of attention lately with their A-VSB technology that would enable TV stations to use a portion of their ATSC digital signals to broadcast programming directly to cell phones and other mobile devices.
Now, Harris wants in on the action.
The broadcast hardware and software vendor told reporters at a pre-NAB luncheon in New York last Friday that it is developing a mobile broadcasting system to rival A-VSB.
“We want to address the mobile market situation and retail all of the advantages of ATSC,” said Harris VP Jay Adrick.
Dubbed Project Eagle, the new transmission scheme offers greater signal strength and payload than A-VSB, Adrick said.
“A-VSB is not fully ATSC compatible and there are some things you give up to implement it,” he said.
Adrick said he was not ready to provide details about the Project Eagle.
However, he said Harris has been testing its system in a large city with a low-power, one-watt transmitter and has been receiving signals on devices moving at 60 miles per hour.
And, he said, Harris will soon begin testing it on a full-power TV station, and expects to announce test results and partners at the NAB convention in April.
Until Harris is prepared to say more, it is impossible to compare the competing system.
But Samsung and Rohde & Schwarz clearly have a head start.
The A-VSB developers have done extensive real-world testing with the Sinclair Broadcast Group and they expect the Advanced Television Systems Committee to standardize the system this year. That would clear the way for widespread implementation.
A-VSB works by borrowing a portion (1-3 megabits per second) of the 19.4 mbps DTV data stream to generate a tracking signal (aka the Supplementary Reference Sequence or SRS).
The tracking signal gives A-VSB-equipped receivers a digital description of what the video should look like so that they can stay locked on to the video under mobile or other tough reception conditions.
Harris has been involved in developing transmitters for the FLO and DVB-H mobile transmission systems. Unlike A-VSB and Project Eagle, they are incompatible with the broadcasters’ ATSC digital signal.