Broadcast news: Mobile digital TV ready to roll next year

Depending on how the cable industry sees things, it may have another friend or foe in the coming year as broadcasters hit the gas pedal with mobile digital TV.

On the friend side, broadcasters are using mobile DTV as a way to fend off FCC efforts to grab chunks of its spectrum for mobile wireless. If they lose that fight, they will inevitably depend more heavily on cable operators to carry all their signals, wreaking havoc with bandwidth and retransmission agreements. On the foe side, successful mobile DTV could reinvigorate broadcasters into stronger cable competitors in local markets.

It all might come down to whether vendors will finally get their act together and build TV-enabled mobile phones. "I wouldn't say we're at the tipping point, but with the impending ramp-up of widespread availability of mobile DTV signals around the country, we anticipate that manufacturers will gear up their plans to introduce more products," said LG Electronics spokesman John Taylor. LG helped develop the mobile DTV standard.

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