Mobile DTV Tally: 126 Stations By Year’s End

The Open Mobile Video Coalition finds that while stations in 48 markets will be ready to go, tablets, smart phones and other personal devices capable of receiving the signals will be not be available until well into 2012. OMVC is working on the necessary guidelines so that samples can be built and shown to retailers at the Consumer Electronics Show in January.

Having once again surveyed its broadcasting members, the Open Mobile Video Coalition said today that 126 TV stations in 48 markets will be airing mobile DTV signals to two-thirds of U.S. TV homes by the end of the year.

However, OMVC spokesman David Arland acknowledged that tablets, smart phones and other personal devices capable of receiving the signals will be not be available until well into 2012.

Before any manufacturer can even consider making mobile DTV receivers, the OMVC must come up with the technical specs for them. That work is expected to be completed later this summer. But even if it is, Arland said, working receivers wouldn’t be ready until next year.

“Obviously, we want to get these guidelines in their hands so that samples can be built and shown to retailers at CES in January,” Arland said in an email.

Broadcasters have coalesced into two ventures to offer mobile DTV service.

Mobile Content Venture, comprising NBC, Fox and 10 major station groups, is promising national programming from Fox, NBC and Telemundo as well as local programming from the individual stations under the Dyle brand.

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The Mobile 500 Alliance, which represents groups with more than 400 stations, will offer mostly local programming.

Initially, the services would be ad-supported.

The OMVC, an umbrella group dedicated to promoting mobile DTV, also said that it will set up a facility in Washington this fall where manufacturers can test their receivers to see if they work with mobile DTV’s planned conditional access system. Broadcasters believe conditional access is essential for robust audience measurement and the eventual deployment of subscription programming.

Along those same lines, OMVC said that manufacturers can now go the Mobile DTV Trust Authority, managed by Neustar, to obtain the digital certificates and keys necessary to offer devices with the conditional access capability.


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