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Koreans tout standard for US mobile TV

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LG and Samsung have teamed up to have their respective technologies accepted as the American standard for mobile TV, just as Dish starts casting around for someone to help them build such a network.

America already has a couple of broadcast mobile TV networks based around Qualcomm's MediaFLO technology. But last year the Open Mobile Video Coalition was set up to define a standard for mobile broadcasting, on the basis that there aren't nearly enough standards already.

The coalition is made up of broadcasters - no-one else is allowed to join - and includes Fox, ION and NBC amongst others representing more than 850 TV stations around the USA. They've been looking at various technologies to make up their new standard, and today announced the conclusion of trials using technologies from LG and Samsung with the recommendation that they be adopted.

The technologies involved are LG's "Mobile-Pedestrian-Handheld" and Samsung's "Advanced VSB". This combination was shown to provide decent reception on the move, and up to 40 miles from the transmitter, though that will depend on the frequency.

"Agreement on a standard takes our industry to the next level in the development and rollout of products and services, and the OMVC remains fully committed to the ATSC's current planned schedule of adopting a final standard by July of 2009," said Anne Schelle, executive director of the OMVC, in a statement.

That might not be soon enough for companies such as Dish, which has just spent $712m on a chunk of 700MHz spectrum that will be available from February next year. It wants to get mobile TV up and running quickly, though it revealed in its quarterly results call that it's looking for a partner to share the cost of building the network. Dish has been testing various standards, including DVB-SH, but has yet to settle on a technology.

Not that the OMVC is planning to wait long: "Next we'll be focused on consumer trials with the goal of realizing mobile DTV for consumers as soon as possible," continues Anne Schelle. This is good to hear, as right now the industry seems to be prepared to invest massively in a service with still very unproven demand. ®

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