Mr. Mobile DTV goes to Washington

Even though the United States' DTV transition has been handled with all the grace of a pianist wearing boxing gloves, there is still hope for a relatively smooth introduction to mobile DTV, despite the host of standards, brand names and incompatible technologies. The first market with a genuine mobile DTV deployment has been revealed.

Washington, D.C. will begin to broadcast mobile digital television in late summer, with the local CBS, NBC, PBS, Fox and ion stations participating. The stations will reportedly broadcast exactly the same shows and commercials that they're broadcasting to standard televisions.

By the end of the year, broadcasters intend to add enough markets to reach nearly 35% of US households with a mobile DTV signal, including New York, Chicago, San Francisco, Boston, Philadelphia, and Atlanta.

LG Electronics announced on Friday that it will begin to mass produce Mobile DTV receiver chips (LG2160A) in June, suitable for use in mobile phones, notebooks, and automobile entertainment systems, and the network in Washington DC will reportedly be the an "MPH in-band mobile DTV" market. MPH is not an entirely new standard for mobile broadcasting, but rather it is an ATSC-compatible technology assembled by Harris Communications that uses LG's chips and a proprietary encoding module.

DVB-H, the standard adopted by Europe for mobile TV broadcasting, looks to have been mostly defeated in the United States. The Mobile Digital Television Alliance, DVB-H's main supporters in the US began to support ATSC in September, and now ATSC is working with the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) to evangelize ATSC Mobile DTV technology. The standard encodes video in H.264 and includes a data sideband for programming guides or supplementary information streams.

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