True Mobile TV in 2009 Opens Marketing Doors

It figures that shortly after legislators get around to banning texting while driving, a new technology rolls in that gives traffic safety activists something to huff about. Today at CES a coalition of rivals announced that TV – the same kind that you get on your big screen – will be broadcast directly to mobile phones and cars in 2009.

Throughout the country, a new Mobile DTV standard will let local TV broadcasters load up on of their digital subchannels with mobile-friendly programming and data, reports PC Mag. According to Anne Schelle, executive director of the Open Video Coalition, mobile TV will be beaming out of your local tower by the end of the year.

What’s the big deal? Quality of mobile television to date is of poor quality and usually pre-recorded. Letting TV broadcasters use a digital subchannel for mobile-specific programming opens up a whole new world for mobile marketers. Mobile DTV isn’t the first mobile digital TV system in the US. Qualcomm’s MediaFLO has been in several dozen cities for more than two years now with limited success, appearing in several Verizon and AT&T phones. They’re going nationwide, and moving into cars this year.

At CES, eight local Las Vegas channels are doing sample broadcasts with two mobile-only channels, reports PC Mag. The article explains, “the programs are coming in on a mobile phone from LG that looks a lot like Verizon Wireless’s existing Voyager, and a Kenwood in-car player.” In addition to LG, Visteon and Delphi are also making car-compatible Mobile DTV devices.

Local broadcasters are enthusiastic about mobile DTV, said Saul Shapiro, president of the Metropolitan TV Alliance, an association of 11 broadcasters in the New York City area to PC Mag. “Mobile opens up a whole new audience, this huge audience of people doing different things at different times in different places,” Shapiro said. “If you’re watching mobile television, it’s probably not taking time away from your living-room, high-definition program watching,” he said.