CES 2012

Belkin Debuts Its Dyle Mobile DTV Dongle

The unit, which attaches to the bottom of the Apple iPads and iPhones, contains a mobile DTV tuner and turns conventional earphones into a receive antenna that can pull in UHF and high-band VHF signals.

Belkin, the ubiquitous maker of accessories for tablets, smart phones and laptops, later this year will market a dongle that will allow iPhones and iPads users to retrofit them and watch the Dyle mobile DTV service under development by broadcaster-owned Mobile Content Venture, MCV and Belkin announced yesterday at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

The dongle, which attaches to the bottom of the Apple devices, contains a mobile DTV tuner and turns conventional earphones into a receive antenna that can pull in UHF and high-band VHF signals.

Erik Moreno, co-general manager of MCV, said that availability and pricing of the dongle would be announced by the end of March.

The Belkin announcement was the second of its kind in the past week. Last Wednesday, MCV said that MetroPCS, the nation’s fifth largest wireless carrier, would market the Dyle mobile DTV service along with a Samsung smart phone with a built-in tuner, also later this year.

To watch mobile DTV on either the Samsung smartphone or a Belkin-enhanced iPad or iPhone, users will have to download the Dyle app and register for the service so they can decrypt the Dyle signals.

Although the basic Dyle service will be free, MCV is encrypting the Dyle signals so that it can keep track of users and their viewing habits and keep open the possibility of offering pay services in the future.

BRAND CONNECTIONS

Both announcements show that MCV is making progress, albeit at a slow pace.

MCV, which is owned NBC, Fox and leading TV station groups, has yet to say when the service will launch or what exactly the programming will be. It has allowed that the programming will include some NBC and Fox programming.

A key to success is getting wireless carriers and manufacturers to incorporate mobile DTV tuners in many different kinds of mobile devices. The MetroPCS and Belkin arrangements are small first steps in that effort.

Nonetheless, Moreno said that the Belkin dongle is significant in that it will enable MCV to market its service to the close to 50 million Americans who already own either an iPhone or iPad.


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Christina Perez says:

January 9, 2012 at 8:19 pm

The deconstruction of free, over the air broadcast TV — the primary mass medium in the world — continues apace, enabled by broadcasters who fail to realize that by encrypting signals and requiring sign-up, they are throwing the baby out with the bath water. Greed is NOT good for local TV broadcasters.


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