Mobile DTV moves forward as D.C. test proves successful
A mobile digital television service test underway in Washington, D.C. is going well, signaling that a more widespread launch of the technology is not too far off. The Open Mobile Video Coalition (OMVC) started the test in May with 23 channels, and so far has received about 2,800 comments on the service.
Included in the test are the major local broadcast networks, several radio station rebroadcasts, and some retransmissions of secondary and tertiary over-the-air digital channels. OMVC is also testing out premium content, and has included several cable stations including Fox News, CNBC, MSNBC, MTV, and E!, among others.
About 200 testers were outfitted with a specially-modified Samsung Moment and asked to provide feedback on the service. So far about 150 have done so, and the feedback has generally been positive.
When testers were asked to rate the technology on a scale of 1 to 10, the OMVC says the average has been a 7.1.
Nearly two-thirds of those watching are doing so while mobile. About half watch one or two times a day, and about a third tune in three times or more, the coalition found.
"It is instructive to see how many viewers reacted positively to the potential of Mobile DTV," Harris Interactive vice president Aaron Heffron said, whose company is an OMVC participant. "We've had viewers praising the picture quality, and the flexibility [the technology] provides them."
While the test is currently only under way in Washington, about 40 broadcasters nationwide currently are broadcasting mobile DTV, OMVC spokesperson Dave Arland told Betanews. How fast broadcasters adopt the technology and its spread elsewhere in the country will be completely dependent on the broadcasters themselves.
"The first step was establishing the broadcast standard, which was done last year," Arland explained. "The second step is to encourage more stations to sign on the air and for more device manufacturers to field products -- and that's where we are right now."
One thing that could speed the launch elsewhere is the fact that several new devices are slated to launch in the fall. This includes an iPhone adapter, several USB dongle receivers, as well as a mobile DTV-enabled LG portable DVD player.
Although most of the pricing has not been released as these products have not yet gone to production, two of the USB dongles will likely retail about $100.