Mobile DTV Test Sends Clear Signal?

The ability to tune in over-the-air TV on mobile devices is getting high marks from the consumers that have been testing new mobile DTV units. So far, viewers have watched 2,600 different TV programs, with news being the most popular program choice.

Since May, about 350 consumers in the Washington, D.C., area have been testing mobile DTV on specially equipped mobile devices from Samsung and LG Electronics as part of the Open Mobile Video Coalition’s Consumer Showcase. Nine of the area’s TV stations are broadcasting 23 channels, including local news, select scripted network TV programming, syndicated talk shows and even music, to demonstrate how mobile DTV might be deployed.

“Our hands-on findings in Washington show that local channels will be the anchor for future mobile DTV services,” said Brandon Burgess, CEO of ION Media Network and OMVC president.

As expected, mobile DTV viewing is heaviest during the workweek and spiked during emergencies. Participants in the showcase said they liked the convenience of being able to tune-in to TV outside the home, whether during commuting, during a lunch break or waiting at the doctor’s office or supermarket.

“Bottom line, many people say they are watching more local TV,” said Aaron Heffron, vp of public affairs research for Harris Interactive. Harris conducted a qualitative survey of the participants, while Rentrak measured the viewing activity.

The showcase also included interactive advertising as well as electronic service guides for program information, closed captioning and emergency alerts.

More results are expected from the showcase, which is scheduled to wrap Nov. 1.

In addition to Washington, D.C., broadcasters are transmitting mobile DTV signals in New York; Detroit; Philadelphia; Charlotte and Raleigh, N.C.; Atlanta; Orlando, Fla.; Chicago; Austin, Texas; Columbus, Ohio; Omaha, Neb.; and Los Angeles, San Jose and Fresno, Calif., among other cities.

See also: “Mobile DTV Alliance Launches”