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DTV Standard for Mobile & Handheld Services

While most of the attention regarding the emerging market for mobile TV and other related multimedia applications tends to be directed at mobile phone service providers, other groups are preparing their strategic plans to address the U.S. market opportunity.

The Advanced Television Systems Committee (ATSC) has launched the process to develop a standard that will enable broadcasters to deliver digital television content and data to mobile and handheld devices via their DTV broadcast signal.

"The ATSC-M/H Standard will facilitate broadcasters use of their DTV broadcast channels to provide new services directly to small hand-held receivers, notebook computers and vehicles moving at a high rate of speed," said ATSC President Mark Richer. "ATSC-M/H will be backwards compatible, allowing operation of existing ATSC services in the same RF channel without an adverse impact on existing receiving equipment."

Network broadcasters will be able to allocate a portion of their 19.39 Mbps/8-VSB signal to mobile and handheld applications while continuing to transmit television services, such as HDTV.

"Development of a standard for mobile and handheld services is a major priority of the ATSC's strategic plan," said Glenn Reitmeier, Chair of the ATSC Board of Directors and VP, Technology Standards, Policy & Strategy, at NBC. "We encourage participation in our standards development process and welcome technical proposals for consideration by our Technology and Standards Group (TSG)."

ATSC-M/H will be developed to support a variety of services including free advertiser supported television and interactive services delivered in real-time, subscription-based TV, and non-real-time content download for playback at a later time. It may also be used for transmission of new data broadcasting services such as real-time navigation data for in-vehicle use.

The Advanced Television Systems Committee is a U.S.-based international, non-profit organization developing voluntary standards for digital television. The ATSC member organizations represent the broadcast, broadcast equipment, motion picture, consumer electronics, computer, cable, satellite and semiconductor industries.

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