LG's Prototype Handsets Highlight Capitol Hill Mobile DTV Showcase
Every industry has its ways of measuring success. For Washington lobbyists, a prime gauge is facetime with key political officials. Hence last week's Mobile DTV Showcase could be deemed a "victory" since at least a half-dozen members of Congress not only showed up and "offered remarks," but most of them actually hung around and paid attention to the technologies that electronics makers and broadcasters were showing off. Among the things they saw were hand-crafted prototypes of DTV-equipped mobile phone handsets that LG Electronics created for the event. Built on the chassis of current and forthcoming LG handsets, the devices picked up live TV transmissions from the Washington-area broadcast stations taking part in the high-profile demonstration on Capitol Hill. About 300 people packed the Rayburn House Office Building foyer, many of them the target audience of political aides. Broadcasting, CE and technology/lobbying executives were also on hand in droves.
In addition to LG, Dell, Kenwood and Samsung also demonstrated their products for the mobile DTV marketplace, which spokesmen suggested will reach the market by next spring. The Advanced Television Standards Committee is expected to adopt final guidelines for mobile DTV later this year, clearing the way for manufacturing to begin. The Open Mobile Video Coalition, an industry group that co-sponsored the Capitol Hill demonstration with ION Media Networks, expects that wireless phone carriers, such as Verizon and AT&T, will authorize mobile DTV reception in the handsets they subsidize.
Congressmen John Dingell (D-MI), who had chaired the House Commerce Committee or served as its senior Democratic member during the digital TV deliberation era, and Edward Markey (D-MA), who headed the Communications Subcommittee during that period, both praised the industries for persevering to bring DTV to market. Markey coyly joked that the mobile DTV handsets will assure that sports fans are never out of touch with watching their favorite games - and winked that he would not tell his wife such technology is available. Rep. Cliff Stearns (R-FL) also complimented broadcasters and CE makers for moving the DTV process forward.