D.C. Mobile DTV Smartphone Showcase Concludes


The smartphone portion of the Open Mobile Video Coalition's Washington, D.C. test/consumer showcase ended Friday (Oct. 1), although the service is still being tested on LG Mobile DTV/DVD players and Dell netbooks.

Among the viewer feedback from the test (150 Sprint customers temporarily traded their cell phones for modified Samsung Moment phones) was that the phones would need some kind of "kickstand" when the actual device comes to market. The Samsung Moment phone being used to test the service was never meant for general mobile DTV consumption, OMVC pointed out. For example, it had an antenna that needed to be screwed in rather than being self-contained within the unit.

A spokesman for the coalition said there would likely be more data on consumer reaction at the CTIA Enterprise and Applications Show in San Francisco next week.

The showcase launched May 24 with DTV signals from nine TV stations and streams of cable news and entertainment channels--MTV, Comedy Central, Food Network--simulating a premium service.

The primary goal was to get viewer feedback to help stations shape the new service and demonstrate the interest and potential to advertisers. Among the feedback gleaned from comments to a social Web site by the digital guinea pigs was that 1) live, local news was a big draw; 2) viewing is heaviest during the work week; 3) mobile viewing included commuting, lunch breaks (catching the soaps at work, for example), the supermarket and doctor's office.

While OMVC is handling the technical tire kicking, it will be up to the station consortia like the Mobile Content Venture and Mobile 500 to come up with the business models that make it work. That will have to include getting a carrier deal as well as getting the DTV receiver chips into the DNA of smartphone makers.

OMVC is a coalition of some 900 TV stations, commercial and noncommercial, looking to leverage their spectrum to compete in an increasingly multiplatform world.