The new service combines simultaneous digital broadcasts of high-definition TV, multiple digital networks and mobile DTV.
Ion Media Networks today announced the launch of its digital broadcast “Triple Play” in New York City and Washington. The Triple Play includes the broadcast of the company’s flagship network, Ion Television, in high-definition, two additional digital networks, plus mobile DTV.
The successful digital TV transition has enabled new transmission capabilities, including mobile digital television (mobile DTV), a new digital format allowing broadcasters to use subchannels to transmit TV content to mobile devices. Ion says it is among the first broadcasters to demonstrate the viability of all three technologies in one broadcast stream in the nation’s largest TV market and the nation’s capital.
Ion’s focus on Washington D.C. is part of a broader initiative in support of the Open Mobile Video Coalition (OMVC), a trade group of over 800 broadcast television stations, working to create a showcase for Mobile DTV in the nation’s capital to highlight the potential for expanding broadcast television beyond the living room to all mobile devices in the digital age.
“Digital technology lets us reach more homes, enables HD quality and new digital networks, as well as mobile reception,” said Brandon Burgess, chairman-CEO of Ion Media Networks. “Among all these benefits, mobile DTV may prove to be the most significant in the long run, allowing broadcasters to think beyond the living room and bring live television and real time information to consumers wherever they may be.”
“The launch of Ion’s mobile DTV signals in New York and D.C. is a payoff from the industry’s efforts to create a unifying technology standard,” said Brett Jenkins, Ion’s vice president of technology. “The mobile DTV ecosystem has now developed to the point that broadcasters are able to launch beta services, and we’re beginning to think through consumer and business implementations. The work of the Open Mobile Video Coalition and its broadcast members have made this implementation possible, and we look forward to working with the industry to capitalize on its potential.”
Ion is using technology known as ATSC-M/H, which was developed by the Advanced Television Systems Committee specifically to enable delivery of television to mobile and handheld devices. In New York, where the signal is transmitted from Ion’s O&O WPXN, the mobile stream is broadcast alongside WPXN’s HD signal and Ion’s two multicast channels. But it has additional formatting that allows it to be picked up by receivers that are mobile, such as phones or an in-vehicle screen. The signal is “in-band,” meaning that it uses the existing DTV spectrum allocated to the station.