Speaking at the NAB’s Broadcast Engineering Conference, Brian McHale, Mobile500 VP of technology, said the service that takes over-the-air signals for free and streams them to users who pay $12 a month, is motivation to propel mobile DTV efforts.
“We’re hyper-focused on this at this point,” McHale said to about 30 people in the dimly lit conference room in the Las Vegas Convention Center. “We understand how important this is.”
The Mobile500 alliance wrapped up its soft launch in Seattle and Minneapolis at the end of March. Earlier this month, Sinclair Broadcast Group showed its support for mobile DTV efforts by bringing nine new markets onboard with the technology.
McHale couldn’t comment on when those stations would go on air. He said he’s unaware of any other station groups who plan to go on air under the Mobile500 umbrella this year.
In Seattle, McHale said users were watching their mobile TV service 20 minutes per week. Users in Minneapolis watched 31 minutes per week, for an average of 28 minutes per week. Additionally, 61% said the product was easy to use. Randa Minkarah, SVP revenue and business development for Fisher Communications, an alliance station group member, plans to deliver more audience measurement statistics on Tuesday at the NAB Show from 1-2:15 p.m. in N238.
Rajan Mehta, CTO of Dyle, the other mobile DTV consortium, declined to comment on Aereo during the panel session. He did say that he doesn’t see a subscription service for mobile DTV being a successful business model right now, but believes it could be in future rollouts of the service.
At this year’s NAB Show, Elgato and Escort dongle adapters for iOS devices are for sale in the NAB Store in the convention center’s north hall. Android-based dongles are on display in the Dyle booth and are expected to hit market this year. Additionally, RCA’s mobile TV tablet is on display at the Dyle booth. It’s unclear when the tablet will be available to the market.