Mobile digital television (mobile DTV) is on track to reach two-thirds of U.S. households by early 2012, as dozens of TV broadcast stations now are installing new transmission equipment that will allow live, local TV signals to reach viewers wherever they go in a local market.

Based on a new survey of member plans, the Open Mobile Video Coalition of America’s (OMVC) broadcaster members say 96 stations now are on the air with mobile DTV, and the total number of mobile DTV stations could reach 126 in 48 markets by the end of the year.

“OMVC members are making the investments needed to make mobile DTV available to millions of viewers,” says Colleen Brown, CEO of Fisher Communications and chair of the Mobile 500 Alliance, which represents more than 400 local TV broadcasters that are planning to add mobile DTV capability to their digital broadcasts. “Mobile DTV channels now being transmitted are providing viewers with the latest news, emergency weather information, traffic updates, and their favorite programs.”

In addition, OMVC says its Mobile DTV Trust Authority, managed by Neustar, is up and running, holding discussions with several companies that are developing new mobile DTV products operating with conditional access. Manufacturers of mobile DTV-capable devices work directly with Neustar to obtain the digital certificates and keys necessary for secure use of mobile DTV services by these devices.

Recently, the Mobile Content Venture (MCV) — consisting of  Belo Corp., Cox Media Group, E.W. Scripps Co., Gannett Broadcasting, Hearst Television Inc., Media General Inc., Meredith Corp., Post-Newsweek Stations Inc. and Raycom Media (all part of the standalone entity known as Pearl Mobile DTV, LLC) as well as Fox, ION Television and NBC – chose the name “Dyle mobile TV” as its new consumer brand for services delivered through MCV member stations.

Dyle mobile TV will feature content from NBC, Fox, Telemundo and ION as well as local news, weather and other local content across 32 markets, reaching 50 percent of the U.S. population this year alone.

Coming Soon: Device Profiles, Model CA System

The OMVC’s Mobile DTV Forum is working to complete consumer electronics device profiles for new programming services, and it could be done later this summer. The profiles are baseline technical guidelines that will give CE manufacturers details about how broadcasters will implement new services and the inputs needed to build consumer electronics products that receive mobile DTV. The Forum is comprised of TV technology companies, consumer electronics firms and broadcasters.

This fall, the OMVC will initiate a model conditional-access (CA) system in the Washington, D.C., market, a move designed to help CE companies test gear that receives, decodes and displays mobile broadcast signals.

Last month, OMVC announced a new predictive model for reception of UHF mobile DTV signals, a tool intended to predict signal coverage in automobiles and for personal viewing. OMVC also is making available recorded mobile DTV signals, a new library of content that will help broadcasters and product developers improve mobile DTV service and consumer products.

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