In my area I have three alternatives to my AutoTalk, although not particularly viable for most people:
-some TV Broadcasters occasionally have their audio feed on AM/FM broadcast
-one local broadcaster has its news feed on the internet
-some broadcasters transmit an IFB on 161.640-161.760 mHz or somewhere between 450 and 450.9875 mHz
I see that Best Buy has a portable HD radio available. HD radio, much like ATSC, has long been thought to be too bulky and too power hungry for a portable application. It will be interesting to see how well it works. One of the bad things about ATSC, of course, is that while in motion the audio can't decode. The forthcoming mobile "standard" may only be a year off as evidenced by this report sent to me this morning:
Two years’ worth of work by broadcasters and technology vendors to
develop a way for stations to transmit video to cellphones, laptops and
other portable devices is starting to produce tangible results. A
multi-station trial of the new mobile digital TV (DTV) technology kicks
off in Washington, D.C., later this month, and a formal technical
standard is expected by September. Individual stations in markets such
as New York and Raleigh, N.C., are already broadcasting mobile DTV
full-time, and a total of 70 stations across 28 markets have pledged to
offer mobile DTV streams by year-end.
While the business models for mobile DTV are still being worked out, the
technology got a boost toward commercialization last week when the
Advanced Television Systems Committee, the U.S. digital TV standards
body, raised the candidate ATSC-Mobile/Handheld (ATSC-M/H) standard to
“proposed standard” status. A final standard could be in place by
September, paving the way for consumer receiver devices to hit retail
shelves in 2010.
“What we’ve all been shooting for is a complete standard by the end of
the year, and there is no reason for concern in meeting that objective,”
says Mark Aitken, director of advanced technology for Sinclair Broadcast
Group and chair of the ATSC specialist group that drafted the ATSC-M/H
Much of the standards work, including technology evaluations and field
trials, has been spearheaded by the Open Mobile Video Coalition, a group
of some 800 stations that have come together to promote mobile DTV. OMVC
members helped broker a deal in May 2008 between consumer electronics
giants LG and Samsung to avoid a prolonged standards battle between the
two companies’ competing mobile DTV systems.
Since then, OMVC has kept pushing the process, announcing commercial
rollout plans at the Consumer Electronics Show last January. The group
selected Atlanta and Seattle as markets where “model stations” such as
Gannett’s WATL and Belo’s KONG are broadcasting mobile DTV streams that
vendors can use to check the performance of their products.
OMVC’s latest project is the seven-station mobile DTV trial in
Washington, expected to go live by the end of the month. Participating
stations include Ion’s WPXW; Gannett’s WUSA, a CBS affiliate; Fox’s
WDCA; NBC’s WRC; WHUT, a PBS station owned and operated by Howard
University; WNVT, the home of multicasting service MHz Networks; and
WNUV, the CW affiliate in Baltimore run by Sinclair. The initial plan is
for each station to broadcast a minimum of two mobile channels apiece,
along with some electronic service-guide and alert data.
While initially billed as a consumer trial, the first phase of the work
in D.C. will be to conduct “conformance testing” of some 20 vendors’
products, using the ATSC-M/H standard as it stood at NAB (software
upgrades should be able to reconcile existing mobile DTV gear with the
final standard). Real-world testing by consumers will comprise the
second phase of the project and likely won’t happen until early 2010,
when a meaningful volume of receiver devices should be available.
“Right now, we’re pulling together a full platform and all the partners,
so we’re able to receive all the channels this summer,” says OMVC
Executive Director Anne Schelle. “We won’t have consumers running around
with anything until January.”
The scarcity of prototype ATSC-M/H receivers is one challenge facing the
industry. Engineers say there are only about two dozen prototype
cellphones around the country, along with a smattering of USB “dongle”
receivers that can be plugged into a laptop.
“We’re really at a stage like the initial launch of DTV back in 1998,”
says ION VP of Technology Brett Jenkins. “There are almost going to be
more transmitters transmitting mobile than receive devices on the
market, and that’s probably what you’ll see for the next six to nine
Obviously, cellphone manufacturers aren’t going to rush to mass-produce
ATSC-M/H-capable handsets until a final standard is in place and, more
important, broadcasters have reached some agreement with wireless
carriers on making their mobile DTV programming available to
subscribers. However, there is a range of devices besides cellphones
that could offer mobile DTV reception capability, such as accessory USB
dongles, netbooks, portable DVD players and in-car displays.
LG, which developed the base transmission system for ATSC-M/H in
partnership with Harris, began producing receiver chips in volume last
month, according to VP of Public Affairs John Taylor, and is providing
samples to third-party manufacturers, including makers of USB dongles.
LG’s focus through the fourth quarter is on building more receivers to
support trials like the one in Washington. But Taylor says LG is on
track to ship retail product next year.
“We anticipate having product in the market for consumers to purchase in
2010,” Taylor says. “We haven’t announced any specific product plans or
timing. But we’ve already had very positive discussions with retailers,
and they’re excited about the opportunity.”
It looks like that came from here:http://www.broadcastnewsroom.com/art....jsp?id=795920