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New mobile TV services set for ‘09
LAS VEGAS — Local television broadcasters will soon be able to deliver programming such as news, weather and sports to cell phones, navigation systems, laptops and other portable devices, LG Electronics Inc. and Harris Corp. said yesterday.
Breaking in to the mobile TV market would be a boon for broadcasters, but may be difficult because major cell-phone carriers have deployed their own mobile TV services with their own content. Broadcasters could access new sources of revenue through mobile advertising or by charging extra for premium content.
Executives from LG and Harris, speaking here at the Consumer Electronics Show, said their Mobile Pedestrian Handheld (MPH) technology will debut in February 2009, the U.S. deadline for transitioning from analog TV signals to digital.
Woo Paik, LG’s chief technology officer, demonstrated the service on several devices, including a personal television built around the company’s 4-inch-screen navigation device. A laptop can be equipped for MPH service with a USB stick.
“This is going to let broadcasters get back into the game,” said Howard Lance, chairman and chief executive officer at Melbourne, Fla.-based Harris, which makes communications equipment for the defense and commercial markets.
Local broadcasters wouldn’t need any additional spectrum to transmit to mobile devices but would need to install a new piece of equipment called a “signal exciter” to their existing towers, Mr. Lance and Mr. Paik said.
So far, the technology has been tested in trials in Chicago and the D.C. area and is to receive more testing in coming months.
The companies said they have signed up a long roster of major broadcasting companies and hundreds of local stations around the country.
Verizon Wireless relies on MediaFLO, a delivery technology made by chip maker Qualcomm Inc., for its VCast Network, which broadcasts eight national channels.
Korean technology conglomerate Samsung yesterday said its similar AVS-B mobile TV technology, which the company announced last year, will also be ready by February 2009.
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