ION Media Networks, Inc., owner and operator of the nation’s largest broadcast TV station group and an industry leader in the development of mobile digital television (DTV), today announced two successful mobile DTV field trial demonstrations using WCPX, its station serving the Chicago market and KPXC, its station serving the Denver market.
The real-world field trials use new mobile DTV technology that will enable television broadcasters to deliver live, over-the-air digital television to next-generation mobile devices, including battery-powered digital televisions, cell phones, laptops and personal media players. Mobile DTV will allow users to watch their favorite programs – as well as local news, weather and traffic information – on the go, either at pedestrian or vehicular speeds.
“Mobile DTV promises to deliver benefits to television broadcasters and viewers alike,” said Brandon Burgess, Chairman and CEO, ION Media Networks. “The collaboration of the Open Mobile Video Coalition, its members, and partners like LG and Samsung represent a unique unified commitment toward accelerating mobile DTV into a marketplace reality.”
WCPX, transmitting from atop the Sears Tower, and KPXC, reaching Denver from a Fort Lupton-based tower, are both broadcasting two mobile DTV programs simultaneously, in addition to the multicast of four programs already transmitted, within their 6-MHz channel. ION Media is using handheld mobile phones, laptops fitted with USB receivers, and screens installed in traveling test vans throughout the downtown area, surrounding suburbs and rural regions. The trials have demonstrated winning program reception in pedestrian locations as well as at highway speeds in the nation’s third and eighteenth largest media markets.
“Our local station field trials in Chicago and Denver prove that multiple channels of premium-quality video broadcast television can be reliably delivered to users anywhere they want to access content, all using the existing digital television broadcast infrastructure,” said Brett Jenkins, Director of Technology Strategy and Development, ION Media Networks.
Field trials, such as these, are being applauded by the Open Mobile Video Coalition (OMVC), the major broadcast industry consortium with a mission of advancing mobile DTV technology, of which ION Media is a founding member. At the manufacturer level, LG Electronics and Samsung agreed in May 2008 to jointly support a single common standard for mobile/handheld digital TV broadcasting. The emerging Advanced Television Systems Committee (ATSC) Mobile DTV standard, which enables DTV services to mobile and handheld devices, has broad, solid and enthusiastic broadcaster support. The standardization process is moving ahead rapidly and is expected to be finalized in 2009.
For the Chicago and Denver trials, LG Electronics, Harris and Zenith are providing mobile TV receivers, transmission equipment and technical expertise to ION Media. According to Harris Broadcast Communications President, Tim Thorsteinson, “ION Media Networks has been a driving force in generating broadcast industry support for mobile DTV. We are pleased to be working with the broadcaster on their market demos and the mobile DTV campaign going forward.”
Dr. Woo Paik, President and Chief Technology Officer, LG Electronics Inc. said, “We are very encouraged by the strong and growing support for mobile DTV within the U.S. broadcast community, as exemplified by the groundbreaking trials by ION Media, and we look forward to moving a wide array of ATSC mobile DTV compatible handheld devices from prototypes to retail shelves in the years ahead.”
ION Media’s WCPX and KPXC broadcast in multicast SD, which is compatible with multiple broadcast strategies, including mobile DTV. Their signals carry varied programming, including: a digital feed of ION Television, a contemporary general entertainment network featuring a mix of compelling television series, theatrical and made- for-television movies and specials; qubo, a digital television and multimedia network offering programming for children focused on promoting positive values and literacy; and ION Life, a digital network dedicated to active lifestyles and personal growth. ION Media’s leadership role in the charge to make mobile DTV widespread, along with its advancements in digital network programming, plays a crucial role in the Company’s overarching multi-platform business strategy.
About ION Media Networks
ION Media Networks, Inc. owns and operates the nation’s largest broadcast television station group and ION Television, which reaches 94 million U.S. television households via its nationwide broadcast television, cable and satellite distribution systems, and features popular TV services and movies from the award-winning libraries of RHI Entertainment, CBS Television, NBC Universal, Sony Pictures Television, Twentieth Television and Warner Bros., among others. Using its digital multicasting capability, the Company has launched several digital TV brands, including qubo, a channel focusing on literacy and values, and ION Life, a channel dedicated to active living and personal growth. It also has launched Open Mobile Ventures Corporation (OMVION), a business unit focused on the research and development of portable, mobile and out-of-home transmission technology using over-the-air digital television services. For more information, visit http://www.ionmedia.com.
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