updated 08:00 am EST, Thu November 27, 2008
ATSC Approves Mobile DTV
The ATSC TV standards company today said it has approved a candidate version of the Mobile DTV standard. The technology will give American cellphones, notebooks, portable media players and other devices a more universal way of watching over-the-air mobile digital TV provided by regular broadcasters rather than through proprietary, subscription-only services such as the MediaFLO network used by AT&T and Verizon.
The format will use H.264 encoding for video, rendering it compatible with many newer devices while also minimizing the amount of bandwidth used by broadcast towers. It will also have a data sideband that lets broadcasters send navigation data, news, sports or other one-way information through each TV channel.
ATSC hopes for commercial Mobile DTV service to roll out sometime in 2009 but hasn't mentioned any specific plans. Companies such as LG and Samsung have backed the standard early and are likely to be among the first to ship supporting products.
Mobile TV has had relatively sluggish adoption in the US in large part due to the added cost and carrier dependence of MediaFLO. Mobile TV is typically much more popular in countries like Japan and South Korea, where standards like 1Seg and T-DMB are often free to use and independent of any one provider.