TV Stations Soon to Broadcast Directly to Mobile Devices

New York Times Bits blogger Saul Hansell this afternoon reports that television stations now can broadcast content directly to your mobile device.

A group called the Open Mobile Video Coalition announced Thursday the completion of a standard that will let TV stations use a sliver of the new frequencies that Congress gave them for high-definition broadcasts for broadcasts to wireless devices.

As Hansell points out, people have been able to watch videos on their smart phones for awhile now. But the current practice of carriers offering video clips on demand is a bandwidth hog for wireless data networks. He writes:

It is far more efficient to broadcast certain channels, allowing any device to tune in to a stream of programs, the way regular over-the-air TV works.

Hansell reports that “at least 70 stations would begin broadcasting using the standard.” Broadcasting & Cable reports that “some 30 stations are already broadcasting mobile (digital) TV signals, ranging from large markets like Washington and Atlanta to smaller cities like Omaha, Neb.”

One hitch on the consumer end: Broadcasters have yet to reach agreement with any U.S. carriers to build handsets that incorporate the standard. That seems like a temporary snag, however, because once one wireless carrier folds, the others soon will follow.