Posts Tagged ‘ATSC’

Media General Launches Mobile DTV Service in Columbus, OH

broadcast industry trends, content delivery | Posted by Joe Zaller
Sep 29 2010

US broadcast station group Media General announced today that WCMH, its Columbus Ohio NBC affiliate, is the company’s first station to launch a mobile DTV service.

Company president and CEO Marshall Morton said that mobile DTV will enable the company to extend its reach and deliver content to viewers, when, where and how they want it.  Morton also said that the company is looking forward to “launching Mobile DTV in as many as 5-7 additional television markets in the coming months.”

WCMH is apparently starting with a simulcast of its primary channel, but according to a press release it “expects to provide unique graphics for the mobile stream and allow for spot advertising insertions much like cable systems do today.”

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You can read the full Media General announcement here.

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TV Tech Interview with Head of Harris Broadcast Business Reveals Mobile DTV Revenues

broadcast industry technology trends, broadcast technology market research, Broadcast technology vendor financials | Posted by Joe Zaller
Apr 09 2010

TV Technology magazine recently published an interview with P. Harris Morris, the new head of the Harris Broadcast & Communications business unit.

In the interview with TV Tech, Morris talks about the broadcast business, gives an overview of company’s NAB plans and discusses their interoperability labs in the US, Canada and the UK.

Most interesting to me is that towards the end of the interview when the subject turns towards mobile DTV, Morris reveals that the company has “delivered more than 45 systems nationwide already and, at the upcoming Washington, D.C., Mobile Consumer Showcase, our systems will be used in at least six of the eight over-the-air broadcast stations.”

Morris then goes on to say that he “wouldn’t be surprised to see 100 to 150 more stations roll out mobile capabilities during the next year.”

As I said in January just after returning from CES, and more recently while being interviewed by Harry Jessell, the market hype may be about 3D, but for US broadcasters and the vendors that sell to them, there’s much more action in mobile. It looks like Harris is one of the companies that’s taking advantage of this trend and turning it into significant revenue.

I’ve been told by broadcasters that the incremental cost of enabling mobile DTV broadcasting (for a station that has already made the switch to DTV) is about $150,000 per station.  Thus the numbers in the TV Technology interview with Mr. Morris indicate that Harris has already brought in revenue of ~$6.75m from mobile DTV; and the company has the potential to sell an additional $15m – $22.5m worth of this technology over the next year.  Even if the $150K per station estimate is high, there is still good money here for Harris and the other companies who are targeting this space.

Impressions of CES 2010 — 3D and ATSC Mobile DTV

broadcast industry technology trends, content delivery, technology trends | Posted by Joe Zaller
Jan 12 2010

Last week I made my annual winter pilgrimage to Las Vegas for the 2010 CES exhibition.

Walking the crowded show floor was like being inside of a giant Best Buy with 100,000+ other people. 

I spent most of my time at CES at the conference, and I have mixed feelings about the sessions I attended. While there were some quite good panels — particularly in the USC Emerging Tech and the excellent Arlen / Greenwald “UpNext” tracks — I found many of the sessions to be disappointing. Many sessions were long on commercial plugs and short on new information.  I also found the multiple concurrent sessions difficult to navigate, something that was not helped by CEA’s show guide / conference program, which was poorly laid out and confusing.

As most know by now, the big topics at CES were 3D, think TVs, mobile broadcasting and making money (or  not) from online content.

3D was everywhere at the show, and there have been countless reports of how many companies are betting their future on 3D.   In many of conference sessions, panelists expressed optimism for 3D — tech vendors talked about how they will have the products available, while broadcasters & content owners talked about the amount of 3D content they are going to produce / broadcast.  Personally I am skeptical about near-term consumer take-up of 3D.  Consumers who have recently upgraded to HD are unlikely to re-up for 3D any time soon, and even my early-adopter friends have said they are unlikely to put on 3D glasses to watch sports or movies.  Time will tell, and I am sure we will all be hearing much about 3D between now and the NAB show in April.

Other than they hype surrounding 3D the most interesting aspect of CES for me was a small group of booths that were showing off ATSC mobile DTV broadcasting.  US broadcasters are serious about mobile, and they were there in force along with some well established (Harris, LG) and new technology vendors.  According to several of the broadcasters and exhibitors I spoke with, there are already 30 broadcasters on the air with mobile ATSC DTV. 

More significantly according to these sources however, is that there are 200+ more local broadcasters who are planning to launch a mobile service in the near future.  These broadcasters have already spent a significant amount of money to convert to DTV, and the incremental cost to also broadcast to mobile is very small (the maximum number I heard was $150,000, with many broadcasters saying they could do it for much less).

This low cost of entry, combined with a potential of new revenue as well as the political controversy about use of spectrum is sure to make ATSC mobile DTV one of the major topics at NAB this year.  Whereas 3D is a future possibility for broadcasters, it seems to me that ATSC mobile DTV is going to happen in the near term. Broadcasters such as Sinclair, ION and others are absolutely committed to the technology, and there are many vendors on board — with more undoubtedly to follow — despite the fact that there are very few receivers and even fewer viewers at this time. 

It remains to be seen whether ATSC mobile DTV can be developed into a viable commercial offering, but this will not stop a great deal of hardware and software being sold to US broadcasters.  The barriers to entry are low (in terms of incremental cost), and the potential political victory with regard to spectrum, not to mention a new potential revenue stream practically guarantees that ATSC mobile DTV  will be coming soon to a local broadcaster near you.

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