The station group said it is talking with other unnamed broadcasters about forming an alliance to develop ways to use DTV spectrum to broadcast to cell phones and other portable and mobile devices.
Ion Media Networks today announced the creation of Open Mobile Ventures Corp., a new business unit dedicated to finding ways of using digital TV channels to reach portable, mobile and other “out-of-home” receivers.
“The creation of OMVION will help us advance mobile datacasting activities in collaboration with like-minded broadcasters,” Ion Media CEO Brandon Burgess. “Over 100 million video-capable mobile devices will be sold in the U.S. this year. OMVION’s mission is to deliver video to such consumer devices using DTV broadcast spectrum.”
Operating 60 TV stations that reach 63% of all TV homes in the United States, Ion has plenty of broadcast spectrum. Its principal business is its recently renamed Ion Television, a broadcast network comprising old TV shows in primetime and infomercials most of the other time.
Heading the effort will be David Glenn, Ion president of engineering.
Ion has also retained former Disney executive Dan Hsieh to assist in the R&D effort and to develop a business plan for mobile applications.
OMVION will establish three mobile DTV test centers in New York, Washington and Tampa, Fla., for developing mobile DTV and single frequency distributed networking technologies.
Ion said it is talking with other broadcasters regarding an industry-wide alliance to develop DTV-based mobile television.
“Countries such as Japan, Korea and Italy have demonstrated that digital terrestrial spectrum offers a compelling platform for mobile video delivery,” said Glenn. “As we advance testing in this country, we hope that other U.S. TV broadcasters will join OMVION in advancing the use of digital broadcast TV technology to deliver content to mobile devices and unwired locations.”
OMVION already has the backing of consumer hardware and transmission equipment manufacturers that are supportive of digital TV broadcasters advancing the adoption of terrestrial portable and mobile TV video standards similar to those in other countries, the company said without naming names.
Ion cited three reason why mobile over DTV makes sense:
- It would use the broadcasting’s DTV infrastructure, which has already been built out.
- The high frequencies of DTV are ideal for reaching devices within buildings and in changing weather conditions.
- The cost-per-user stream of DTV is measurably lower than that of cellular or Wimax systems.