LAS VEGAS--With mobile digital television (DTV) technology officially in the process of being rolled out, a few new Mobile TV devices are set to hit the market later this year, including LG's DP570MH, a model that combines a portable DTV with a DVD player.
Mobile DTV technology is different from the over-the-air signals you can pull in with a standard ATSC digital TV tuner and antenna. The key to Mobile TV is that you can pick up signals while you're moving in a car or even a fast train. According to LG, the new Mobile DTV standard allows broadcasters to use a portion of the existing 19.4 Megabit-per-second DTV channel capacity to transmit data with "extremely robust characteristics suitable for mobile, pedestrian and handheld applications."
The $249.99 DP570MH has a 7-inch wide-screen display (480x234-pixel resolution) and stereo speakers. The screen is designed to tilt to achieve the best viewing angle. When not in use, the screen folds down, with the total footprint of the device shrinking to about 9.5 x 6.5 inches, according to LG.
As for battery life, LG says that you can get up to 2.5 hours in TV mode or up to 4.5 hours during DVD playback. You get both AC and car power adapters and the DP570MH can also display JPEG images and play WMA music files from its USB 2.0 connection.
Since LG is a co-developer of the chip at the heart of the Mobile DTV standard it's not surprising that it's among the first to put out a Mobile DTV device. The company notes that LG began mass production of the critical component for Mobile DTV reception--the LG2160A integrated circuit chip--in June 2009. The latest version, the LG2160R single chip design, which includes both the tuner and demodulator, was released at CES. And, by March 2010, LG plans to release its next-generation mobile DTV chip, the LG2161R receiver IC. LG says the new chip is, "Even smaller, consumes less power, supports various interfaces and provides improved performance."
Naturally, the company hopes to see its Mobile DTV chips find their way into a wide variety of products, including netbooks and laptop USB accessory receivers. Also, accessories likewill allow you to stream Mobile DTV video to your iPhone, BlackBerry, or notebook PC.
Mobile DTV seems poised to launch later this year, but we suspect it will only take off in 2011 as more stations and devices hit the market along with better coverage. Mobile broadcasting signals have been available in South Korea and Japan for a number of years.