Friday, September 23, 2011

New Rules for Mobile DTV |

New rules have been spelled out for mobile digital TV products that now call for an Internet "back channel" of some type.

Mobile DTV (ATSC m/h) delivers free over-the-air TV even in a moving vehicle, so users can receive popular network and other TV shows without a subscription fee. Currently the service is only available in some markets as it is gradually rolled out by broadcasters.

On Thursday, two "device profiles" were announced to help guide suppliers of Mobile DTV in creating products. These are suggested guidelines from the Open Mobile Video Coalition, a group of broadcasters. It is possible that some broadcasters may not permit reception unless a product adheres to the guidelines.

The two profiles: one for basic receivers and one for more advanced receivers both require a back channel that can send information about what the customer is viewing back to broadcasters. It can also provide the means for premium (paid) programming that will supplement the free channels.

The back channel connection may include a 3G or 4G modem, or a means of connecting to a smartphone. It could be a WiFi radio, but consumers must connect to the Internet at least once a week to transmit their viewing data, said the OMVC.

"The news today is that now there is a road map on how to add conditional access, which means if I'm developing a device for the car, I have to get some information on what is being watched," said an OMVC spokesman.

There are already a few Mobile DTV products on the market from brands including RCA, which may not have the new back channel.

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