Mobile Content Venture to Upgrade TV Stations in 20 Markets

The joint venture between 12 broadcasters, including Fox and NBC, will at least have at least two ad-supported, free-to-consumer channels in each market.

Mobile Content Venture, a joint venture of 12 broadcasters, including Fox, ION Television, NBC and Pearl Mobile DTV, plans to upgrade TV stations in 20 top markets in order to deliver live video to portable devices.

The intended result: Delivery of mobile video service in markets representing more than 40% of the U.S. population by late 2011.

The service will initially consist of at least two ad-supported, free-to-consumer channels in each market. The first markets would include: New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Dallas, Washington D.C., Atlanta, Houston, Detroit, Tampa, Phoenix, Minneapolis, Orlando, Portland, Cincinnati, Greenville, West Palm Beach, Birmingham and Knoxville.

“Live, local video will ultimately be a key part of mobile services,” said Salil Dalvi, co-general manager of MCV, which was formed earlier this year. “Upgrading our stations for mobile is an important first step in making this a reality.”

Broadcasters’ DTV spectrum allocation could be used for various purposes, including multicasting, as well as delivery of HDTV, 3DTV and mobile services.

The FCC has urged broadcasters to give up some of that spectrum per the National Broadband Plan.

According to MCV, its mobile system will permit broadcasters to deliver video content in a spectrally efficient manner as compared to wireless 3G and 4G technology.

In order to receive the MCV service, consumers will need a device capable of receiving a specific type of mobile video broadcast, encrypted with conditional access. MCV is working with various manufacturers on delivering this capability.