Monday, October 19, 2009

New Mobile DTV Standards

Here's an interesting tidbit in today's

The Advanced Television Systems Committee (ATSC) approved a mobile DTV standard on Friday, clearing the way for broadcasters to transmit digital TV signals to a plethora of mobile devices. The formalization of the standard, in the works since May of 2007, gives chipmakers and gadget manufactures the template they need to develop handheld TVs, DTV-compatible netbooks and tuner-integrated mobile phones that can pick up ad-supported local news, weather and sports programming. In addition to live television, the new ATSC Mobile DTV standard also provides an application framework to enable receivers to bake in a number of interactive services. Look for iTV apps including live viewer voting, polling, advertising applications and audience measurement components to be built into the mobile DTV platform.

So a new DTV standard for mobile phones will enable more interactive applications. Why isn't it first happening in set top boxes? These bricks with wires can barely switch from one channel to another without a noticeable lag, freeze up when trick features are used, and cause more aggravation than enjoyment. And so as phones become more enabled, TVs become less so. It's time for some real convergence of technology. Put similar standards in the converter box and enable consumers to use the device that best appeals to them. For me, a Tivo without the need for a Cablecard or two, just a code that authorizes the cable company to talk to it. It's time to put some 21st thinking into the converter box ASAP.