CBS commits to simulcasting the Dyle mobile DTV service at four of its O&Os and has given permission to five affiliates to get on board. ABC has given the go-ahead to its affiliates in Dallas and Orlando. In addition, NBC has given its affiliate in Austin, Texas, permission to air its signal on the condition that it uses Dyle’s conditional access. For all that’s going on at NAB 2012, click here.
Broadcasters’ mobile DTV service inched closer to reality with the news today that CBS and ABC were finally getting in the game, albeit in a measured way.
CBS said it will begin simulcasting the mobile DTV service at four of its stations. KTVT Dallas, WFOR Miami and KCAL Los Angeles will air CBS programing via Mobile Content Venture, which will be marketing its service as Dyle. Meanwhile, KSTW Seattle’s CW programming will simulcast its signal under the Mobile500 Alliance flag.
According to MCV, CBS has also given affiliates in five markets permission to include CBS programming as part of an MCV offering. They are Cox’s WHIO Dayton, Ohio; Belo’s KHOU Houston; Cox’s KIRO Seattle; Gannett’s WUSA Washington; Post-Newsweek’s WKMG Orlando, Fla.; Meredith’s WGCI Atlanta; Meredith’s KPHO Phoenix; and Raycom’s WBTV Charlotte, N.C.
Also, MCV said, ABC has given the go-ahead to its affiliates in Dallas (Belo’s WFAA) and Orlando (Cox’s WBTV).
Salil Dalvi, co-general manager of MCV, said that news from CBS and ABC signals their willingness is a “huge deal …. Consumers will be able to access all the big broadcast networks.”
Representing different coalitions of broadcasters, MCV and the Mobile500 are moving on parallel tracks to pull together all the pieces necessary to launch a commercial mobile DTV service — broadcast infrastructure, programming and mobile receivers.
MCV includes NBC, Fox and a dozen major TV stations groups, including Hearst, Gannett, Scripps and Post-Newsweek. It now has 91 stations on the air with the mobile service, reaching 55% of TV homes.
Mobile500 include 50 smaller groups, but together they potentially reach 94% of U.S. TV homes.
Both initiatives are building their businesses using the ATSC mobile DTV standard. So, mobile devices — smartphones, tablets and laptops — built to the standard will be able to receive both services. However, MCV has chosen to encrypt their service to preserve the opportunity of one day offering pay services. So, receiving MCV’s service will require authorization.
Initially, the services will be advertiser-supported with broadcasters earning money from the additional viewership that will come from mobile devices.
In another significant development, MCV said that NBC has given its affiliate in Austin, Texas, LIN Media’s KXAN, permission to air its signal on the condition that it uses Dyle’s conditional access. “That’s an open offer to everybody is the industry,” Dalvi said.
Through their participation in MCV, NBC and Fox have previously made the commitment to put their programming on the mobile DTV platforms.
With the network programming falling into place, the chief challenge facing mobile DTV proponents is persuading manufacturers of mobile devices and wireless carriers to build and market devices capable of receiving the mobile DTV signals.
MCV has deals in place under which MetroPCS will offer a mobile DTV-able Samsung smartphone. Belkin, a supplier of accessories to smart phones, is also promising a dongle with a mobile DTV tuner that can be snapped onto an Apple tablet. MCV said the phone and dongle will be available to consumers by the end of the year.
Mobile500 has said that a dongle with an associated app for Apple iPhones and iPads would be available this spring for $99 through Apple and Amazon.
For all that’s going on at NAB 2012, click here.