Mobile DTV ready to roll out, upgrading 20 major metros to portable TV by 2012

Slowly but surely, the biggest US cities are catching up to the rest of the world -- just imagine, by this time next year, we might even have broadcast television beamed to our tablets and cell phones. That's because the Mobile Content Venture formed from twelve media giants in April has just promised to start upgrading TV stations to deliver Mobile DTV (aka ATSC-M/H) around the country, with the intent of reaching 20 major markets and a total of 40 percent of the US population by "late 2011." Each of New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Dallas, Washington D.C., Atlanta, Houston, Detroit, Tampa, Phoenix, Minneapolis, Orlando, Portland, Cincinnati, Greenville, West Palm Beach, Birmingham and Knoxville can expect to have a pair of ad-supported TV channels before long, assuming citizens are willing and able to pick up hardware with a old-school RF antenna sticking out -- and that whole "streaming" thing doesn't take off. PR after the break.

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Mobile Content Venture Announces Commitment to Roll Out Mobile TV Service in 20 Markets by the end of 2011

MCV Partners Will Offer Programming Service for Portable Devices to More Than 40% of U.S. Population

NEW YORK and LOS ANGELES, Nov. 19, 2010 /PRNewswire/ -- Mobile Content Venture (MCV), a joint venture of 12 major broadcasters, today announced a commitment to upgrade TV stations in 20 DMAs in order to deliver live video to portable devices. By late 2011, the venture will deliver mobile video service in markets representing more than 40% of the US population. The service will initially consist of at least two ad-supported free-to-consumer channels in each market. Additional channels and markets are expected to be added over time.

In 2011, MCV expects to offer the mobile video service in the following markets: New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Dallas, Washington D.C., Atlanta, Houston, Detroit, Tampa, Phoenix, Minneapolis, Orlando, Portland, Cincinnati, Greenville, West Palm Beach, Birmingham, and Knoxville.

"Live, local video will ultimately be a key part of mobile services," said Salil Dalvi, co-GM of MCV. "Upgrading our stations for mobile is an important first step in making this a reality."

"Our commitment to launch in 20 markets, including 13 of the top 15 DMAs, is a significant and necessary step in building a viable commercial mobile TV business that delivers a comprehensive product to viewers," added Erik Moreno, co-GM of MCV. "We welcome the opportunity to work with Fox and NBC affiliates, as well as additional broadcasters, in rolling out many more markets."

In order to receive the mobile video service, consumers will need a device capable of receiving a specific type of mobile video broadcast, encrypted with conditional access. MCV is working with various OEMs and device manufacturers to ensure these devices are available in the second half of 2011.

According to the market research firm In-Stat, the U.S. mobile DTV sector will experience solid growth over the next few years, with more than 30 million ATSC Mobile DTV devices expected to be deployed by 2014.

MCV's mobile video service complements the Federal Communication Commission's (FCC) National Broadband Initiative. MCV offers consumers access to mobile video content by utilizing existing broadcast spectrum from its launch partners to offer a breadth of mobile video, including sports and entertainment content. The technology being deployed by MCV will permit all broadcasters, in a scalable manner, to deliver popular video content in a spectrally efficient manner as compared to wireless 3G and 4G technology. Additional markets, content and device partners are expected to be announced in the upcoming months.

About Mobile Content Venture

Mobile Content Venture (MCV) is a joint venture that includes Fox, ION Television, NBC and Pearl Mobile DTV, LLC. The Pearl member companies include: Belo Corp., Cox Media Group, E.W. Scripps Co., Gannett Broadcasting, Hearst Television Inc., Media General Inc., Meredith Corp., Post-Newsweek Stations Inc. and Raycom Media. MCV aims to be the catalyst for a new national mobile video service that utilizes existing broadcast spectrum to enable member companies to deliver content to mobile devices, including live and on-demand video, such as sports and entertainment programming, as well as local and national news from print and electronic sources.