Great Progress with Mobile DTV Testing in Washington, D.C.

Here is the latest update on Mobile DTV in Washington, D.C. I started covering back in April. The test underway has been 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.

While the test is currently only under way in Washington, about 40 broadcasters nationwide currently are broadcasting mobile DTV. How fast broadcasters adopt the technology and its spread elsewhere in the country will be completely dependent on the broadcasters themselves.

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.

Broadcasters see mobile DTV as a way to get a piece of the currently broadband-centric but burgeoning mobile video market.

Although, we are usually a head in most of  the technologies here in the U.S., but not the mobile TV. Such a technology has been around in the Europe and part of the Asia for the past five years or so. We are just about to picking it up.

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About Elias Shams
I have been a serial entrepreneur in telecom and social media space for past 12 years or so. I hold a M.S. degree in Telecommunication Engineering from the George Washington University and a B.S. degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of Maryland. I’ve lived and worked in many countries and cities including London England, Tehran Iran, Bonn Germany, Paris France, Alicante Spain, Delhi India, and my favorite of all Washington, DC of great US of A. Two of the greatest Washington, DC based companies I worked for and very proud of are Yurie Systems which was sold to Lucent in 1998 for $1.23 B and that I founded in 1999. I am currently the founder and awesomizer @

17 Responses to Great Progress with Mobile DTV Testing in Washington, D.C.

  1. I wonder if it’s that the BIG BANKS in the States move so slowly. When they go on new technology, then the rest tend to follow. Also, it appears that security concerns might have contributed, but where we are now in the state of global and mobile communications, that myth should be gone…

    • Helen Duncan says:

      Possibly for a similar reason that a US company put up 66 satellites a few years ago rather than admit that a standard developed in Europe (GSM) had any potential for enabling global mobile roaming..

  2. Anthony Reid says:

    Elias the main reason is that the US started its telecommunications industries without 1 regulated national standard eg. GSM it also held on to analogue for far too long . Also it allows multiple standards to be state based and this created more issues with interoperability thus slowing down new technical deployments
    The USA is well behind most countries in this area and I doubt it will catch up now sometimes too much freedom slows you down


    • Elias Shams says:

      true, but I pay much less for my voice and data services here in the US compare to when I used to live and work in the UK, Spain, and France (2002-2006). Frankly, I really don’t care about watching TV from my mobile. All I care is voice calls and Internet which is much much cheaper here in the US

  3. Mobile TV in general was/is a failure everywhere! It was a false business in general.

    • Elias Shams says:

      Babak, in what way? I know some people in the UK and Spain using it and very happy. Given, smartphones are becoming our newx computing devices as well our main source of entertainment besides titty bars, why not?

  4. After couple of years try and error (and mostly errors!) there is a huge lack of mass usage for mobile TV in general. There is no convincing business model behind mobile TV to convince users to use it. The whole size/distance to eye/motion/… make it a no go as a service. Probably limited number of users use it here and there, but there is no way it become a main stream service. I wrote an article in my blog

    • Gary Renfrod says:

      I think there’s actually a strong case for mobile TV. Don’t think of it only as a mobile phone application. There are actually a wide range of devices and use cases, beyond “cell phone on a train” scenarios that are compelling. Live back seat video, viewing on E-readers or tablets, even dedicated portable video players. And while I can see mobile B-cast tv has failed as a stand-alone service, when paired with wireless streaming and sideloading cabilities, broadcast offers the only efficient way to distribute video to large numbers of mobile viewers.

  5. Gary Dorfner says:

    Absence of Gov’t imposed standards, and geography.

  6. Stephen Blum says:

    For the same reason the U.S. is ahead of the rest of the world when it comes to satellite radio: lots more people in cars and proportionately fewer on public transportation.

  7. Cause US is thinking for war always you are ahead in miltary equipment or for war equipment not for personal modern technology american’s are universal soldiers protector of the world you must be proud 🙂

  8. Chris McLean says:

    Good comments but I feel you are all missing one major point. The US, and Canada for that matter, have built out cable and telephony infrastructure that is much further ahead of the EU and APJ. The number & percentage of homes that not only have access to cable, digital broadcast, and satellite services far out numbers the rest of the world. The adoption of mobile TV is following a similar curve as the adoption of wireless in general. In the US the penetration rate for wireless is still around 85, whereas in many EU countries it is over 100% of the population.

  9. Shorter, sharper … and skippable!

    Or, it will have to be skippable at least in these early days when broadcasters are likely to be reticent to antagonise already thin numbers of viewers, who have short patience/fuse and will migrate to other entertainment/information platforms quicker than you can say “I’m lovin’ it”. Broadcasters will be keen to get the advertising cash, but not at the expense of people turning off.

    Perhaps there might be new opportunities/boost in the arm for advertisers when viewer numbers increase after introduction of new wave of tablets and other devices. Naturally, goes without saying the connection speeds/coverage etc have to be right on the money if people are going to have any patience at all…

    I think it’s all going to get much more complicated for marketing departments also — no longer just a case of traditional block-booking and media buying. They’ll actually have to have the appropriate tech skills to understand parameters, limitations etc and they’ll need to be proactive at building strong relationships with a range of stakeholders they might not ordinarly have experience with (internally as well as externally).

    Ultimately, they’ll really need to understand the audiences also — which segments watching at different times, needs/wants, etc — ie it’s back to the roots of marketing — only it’ll be a real chiselling art this time —- different, short adverts and strong multi-platform cross-marketing rather than one single blanket campaign etc.

    Great opportunities and a lot of fun/creativity to be had if the audience is there…

    I guess the only way to test is to test…

  10. Because mobile DTV has to do with mobile. Europeans firstly initiated GSM. It was a surprise because usually back in 80s only USA used to initiate new technologies. It was only an exception. Nothing more. But American nomeclature hated it at the first place because it was not american. This caused a too late adoption of european mobile standards and its descendants. For some time 3G coverage was better in third world countries than in USA. Even SMS messaging came extremely later. Wimax was one more child and the same time victim of this fruitless opposition. Mobile DTV needs a clear and well-defined air-protocol. Has US decided about this?

  11. 1st ATSC Symposium on Next Generation Broadcast television
    Written by Lindsay Shelton-Gross
    Monday, 21 June 2010 12:30
    Symposium: Call for Papers
    October 19, 2010
    9 AM to 5 PM
    Westin Alexandria Hotel
    400 Courthouse Square
    Alexandria, VA 22314 USA

    The Advanced Television Systems Committee is exploring potential technologies to be used to define a new and future terrestrial broadcast digital television. This exploration will include an assessment of the range of services that could be delivered with a new standard and a consideration of potential timeframes. The ATSC will hold symposiums on new technologies that may have application for next generation broadcast content delivery systems.

  12. Iridium roamed with both GSM and IS41 and used GSM as the basis for its underlying signalling. But you’re right that they didn’t expect coverage to expand globally so quickly, irrespective of the air interface, or phones to get so small in comparison to what was required to communicate via satellite.

  13. Elias Shams says:

    Thanks everyone for feedback. I did more digging and just posted this one as a follow up of the previous one you have been commenting:

    Mobile TV coming to Washington, D.C., Anyone will use it?

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