ATSC Puts Mobile DTV, Non–Real-Time Content Delivery Front and Center at NAB

ATSC President Mark Richer will receive the 2010 NAB Engineering Award on April 14 during the big show, but he won’t be resting on any laurels. With the broadcast industry under attack from an FCC looking to snatch back 120 MHz of spectrum for broadband services, it’s more important than ever for the ATSC to make clear that the DTV standards it has developed will help enable scalable mobile-DTV services and even non–real-time recording of TV content. And even over-the-air 3D will make an appearance at the show.

“Mobile DTV provided by broadcast TV is a great opportunity, and not just for broadcasters,” says Richer of a standard that can deliver video to handheld devices and laptops without the need of a cellular network or WiFi. “In some ways, free, over-the-air DTV is the world’s best-kept secret, and the mobile service is tremendous.”

Richer says those who understand all the great things that will come with mobile DTV have a big advantage over those who don’t. And NAB will provide ample opportunities to understand the service.

“We guaranteed this service to the FCC when some in the computer industry were fighting against the DTV broadcast standard,” he says. “NAB will be really exciting because companies will demonstrate mobile-video products and more trials will get started.”

NAB attendees will also have a chance to learn about other ATSC projects at the ATSC Tech Zone (booth SU5726). Non–real-time delivery of content to computers and other devices will get a push at NAB and as a standard in second half 2010.

“It’s an important development because the cost of storage in consumer devices is low but also people understand storage and memory,” he explains. “More important, they understand that, when they turn on a device, they want to get content whenever and wherever they are.”

Over-the-air 3D broadcasts will also be demonstrated. “There is certainly more interest in 3D, but the broadcaster jury is still out on its future,” says Richer. “We are going to see increased activity related to 3D to determine if it makes sense for a standard.”

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