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LG shows off ATSC mobile digital TV at CTIA

LG shows off ATSC Mobile Digital TV standard on some of its phones at CTIA 2009.

LG Lotus with ATSC Mobile TV
LG Lotus with ATSC Mobile TV Nicole Lee/CNET
LG Voyager showing local TV
LG Voyager showing local TV Nicole Lee/CNET

Aside from showing off its latest handsets, LG also took the opportunity at CTIA 2009 to demonstrate Advanced Television Systems Committee (ATSC) mobile digital television on some of its phones. ATSC is the new digital television standard that is replacing NTSC, and LG has been helping to develop a mobile version of the standard in the form of embedded chips.

An LG Netbook with a USB dongle with ATSC reception
An LG Netbook that is connected to a USB dongle with ATSC reception. Nicole Lee/CNET

At the show, LG incorporated these chips in the LG Lotus and the LG Voyager, and showed off live local TV on both handsets. There is no real service fee involved, since it's basically receiving the television signal over the airwaves like you would with a rabbit-ear antenna. Reception would depend on broadcasters, and whether they would allow a portion of the channel capacity to be dedicated to mobile viewers. Broadcasters have already announced that they intend to launch mobile DTV across 63 stations in 22 markets some time in the near future.

This isn't restricted to just cell phones, of course. There's hope that this will extend to a new generation of handheld TVs (most of the existing analog models were rendered useless due to the digital TV transition), personal media players, in-car television without the need for satellite, USB dongles for use with laptops or Netbooks, and more. It'll be interesting to see what this new standard will bring to the table.