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LG introduces MPH, a new mobile TV standard

MPH is a new mobile digital TV standard that uses the traditional ATSC signal

MPH In-band Mobile DTV
MPH In-band Mobile DTV MPH Mobile DTV

Even though we as a country still haven't quite caught on to the idea of ubiquitous mobile television, it appears that LG is stepping ahead anyway in its introduction of yet another standard for mobile TV. Called MPH, or Mobile Pedestrian Handheld, this standard utilizes bandwidth from the existing ATSC signal to broadcast live television to an MPH-compatible product, be it a cell phone, a laptop, or an in-car navigation system.

This sets it apart from other mobile TV standards right now -- both Qualcomm's MediaFLO (which is behind Verizon's V Cast TV) and DVB-H utilize their own frequencies and thus require their own infrastructure. LG hopes that the MPH standard's usage of the traditional ATSC signal will cost less to implement, with more coverage as a result.

A modified LG VX9400 using MPH mobile DTV
A modified LG VX9400 using MPH mobile DTV MPH Mobile DTV

The MPH in-band system was developed by LG, Zenith, and Harris, and it works like this: A local broadcaster will broadcast a live TV feed via their existing 6 Mhz, 19.39 megabit per second network through an MPH exciter, which is then received via an MPH-compatible device. LG had a few prototype devices up for display here at CES; a modified LG VX9400 (which is also compatible with Verizon's V Cast TV that uses the aforementioned MediaFLO standard), a handheld 4-inch widescreen display, a USB dongle to be used with a laptop, plus a Kenwood in-car receiver. The MPH standard can also transmit up to 140 miles per hour, which fits right into the in-car entertainment system.

LG handheld television
LG handheld television with MPH Mobile DTV MPH Mobile DTV

Right now, LG says that they're conducting trials of the MPH system in limited markets like Las Vegas, Chicago, and Washington D.C. They're definitely pushing this more for local stations, so that they can broadcast time sensitive content like news, weather, and sports. They're currently in talks with over 800 stations nationwide, and hope to launch a full product by early 2009.