Phoenix ATSC 3.0 broadcasters team with Avis Budget to test mobile TV in cars

A self-driving vehicle was used to test live mobile TV reception during the annual NAB Show in Las Vegas. (Ben Munson/FierceVideo)

Broadcasters in the ATSC 3.0 model market in Phoenix and vehicle-rental company Avis Budget are partnering up to test mobile video capabilities in cars in early 2019.

The companies will be testing basic over-the-air entertainment programming (both audio and video), with different device types and in-car configurations using the ATSC 3.0 interactive runtime environment with digital rights management and AC-4 multichannel audio decoding.

The cars could receive the video with either via tablets or installed monitors in the headrest.

The companies will also test over-the-air application and interactive services including supplemental on-screen applications. The features could include electronic guides, programming-specific text overlays, Avis-specific rental car information, and coupons and maps.

The announcement of the tests coincides with a white paper recently released by Pearl TV, a consortium of TV broadcasters developing and deploying the ATSC 3.0 suite of standards for television. The paper suggested that a hybrid cellular and satellite connectivity solution for cars could help mitigate the amount of mobile data used in connected cars.

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“The industry should look at a hybrid connectivity framework for building next-generation solutions. This approach would provide the ability to manage the data costs. Cellular will continue to be the backbone for data solutions but there are emerging technologies such as ATSC 3.0 and Satellite which can play a very useful supporting role to complement and supplement the data requirements for future vehicles,” said industry consultant, analyst and white-paper author Chetan Sharma in a statement.

The Phoenix ATSC 3.0 test market test objectives for the model market project include confirming basic TV service parameters and performance, determining the appeal of next-generation high dynamic range video and immersive audio content to consumers, assessing TV application features and implementation requirements, testing interactive and addressable advertising functionality, and determining consumer device and service appeal. The project involves 12 local stations in all.

Along with mobile TV reception, ATSC 3.0 could enable improved over-the-air reception, immersive audio, deeper indoor reception, zoned programming/advertising, automotive services and advanced emergency alerting.