updated 12:10 pm EDT, Mon April 20, 2009
Wash gets ATSC Mobile TV
The outline the early launch plans for ATSC Mobile DTV, the first free over-the-air TV standard meant for portable devices in the US. Washington, DC will be the first city to get coverage and will be supported by 5 stations owned by CBS, Fox, Ion, NBC and PBS when service starts sometime in the late summer. About 39 percent of the US will be covered by the end of 2009 and should include major cities like Chicago, New York, San Francisco and several others.
An initial roster of hardware supporting ATSC Mobile DTV isn't yet public but will likely center on internal and external tuners for computers, where the feature can be added on to existing designs. Dell is known to be demonstrating a notebook with built-in tuning and has already revealed its intention to release a USB TV tuner that at one point may accommodate the American format.
Kenwood is also making an in-car TV that would support the format, though carriers are said to be reluctant. Both AT&T and Verizon use FLO TV and require a monthly subscription that generates extra revenue, something neither firm will get with a free service. LG and Samsung are the only two major handset makers known to be involved and are the primary supporters outside of the ATSC.
The US will be one of the last major markets to get free mobile TV. Japanese and Korean phones regularly include the 1Seg and T-DMB standards, respectively, to receive local broadcasts. While not as popular, the DVB-H format is used in a small number of European countries.