Siano Mobile Silicon, based in Israel, is going strong in mobile digital TV space. Thanks to Rachel Glaser, of Ruderfinn, Israel, I managed an exclusive with Ronen Jashek, co-founder and VP Marketing, Siano.
First, let’s understand what the US standard for mobile digital TV — ATSC-M/H (Advanced Television Systems Committee – Mobile/Handheld)– all about! Jashek said: ”ATSC-M/H is a standard that was established on the foundation of ATSC, a digital technology that replaced Analog TV in the US back in 2009. ATSC is the US equivalent to other international standards, like DVB-T (Europe), ISDB-T Full-Seg (Japan), and others around the world.
“ATSC is targeted (and consequently, was designed to do just that) to deliver HD content to domestic, stationary applications (i.e., big-screen TVs at home) that primarily use fixed antennae. It therefore does not address issues that are related to mobile use-cases – mobility (being able to receive the signal while moving at high speeds), efficient power consumption (to address the mobile, battery-powered devices) and extremely high sensitivity and immunity to interface (which is required in a typical mobile use-case when “on the go”). As a result, these aspects are exactly what M/H (Mobile/Handheld) is addressing. In a word, M/H can be considered the equivalent of DVB-H (again – in Europe), CMMB (in China) and ISDB-T 1-Seg (Japan and LatAm).
“ATSC-M/H was established by the ATSC standardization body, as a joint effort by its members, after realizing the need to secure a technology that would enable true mobile TV service to take off and flourish in the U.S. The various ATSC committees worked on the standard for several years, up until its final version was formally approved in the fall of 2010, paving the way to the deployment and launch of the M/H TV service.”
Given the considerable interest around mobile handheld TV, how significant is the mobile-ready programing? Jashek replied: “Based on the underlying M/H technology, US broadcasters now have the means to get their content out there – direct to consumers. Currently, there are about 60 cities with a total of close to 80 TV stations that are already airing mobile TV content.
“To date, however, most of this content is local – meaning, it’s produced and aired locally. But this is not nearly enough to generate a successful, enticing mobile TV market. Enter the Mobile Content Venture, the MCV – a coalition of the top US broadcasters (FOX, NBC, ION, and others) that set its mission on delivering the mobile TV service built on the broadcast technology and spectrum.
“Naturally, the content that can be delivered by this coalition is the best available premium content in the US Quoting their official plans – “At launch, the service will initially consist of at least two ad-supported, free-to-consumer channels in each DMA. Additional channels and markets are expected to be added.” There’s no doubt that once the MCV plans are in motion and materialize, the content will be extremely attractive to render the service successful.”
MDTV vs. HDTV
What difference will MDTV bring, versus, say HDTV? He said: “The term MDTV is somewhat innocently confused with the video streaming services/clips that we’ve all come to know in the last couple of years while using our smartphones. However, to those of us in the broadcast TV industry, the above is not TV – it’s merely an attempt by cellular carriers to provide us with low-quality, low-resolution, offline/buffered clips under the guise of “TV”.
“TV is something completely different – a true TV experience, one that we’ve all grown up with, is high-quality, real-time, non-interruptible and non-buffered/delayed – similar to the HDTV experience that we now have in our homes. Naturally, smartphones and tablets do not have the capability to show the same resolutions (although this is changing fast), but when using broadcast technology (i.e., the ability to deliver high bit-rate data/traffic to millions of users at the same time) vs. cellular technology (which is primarily based on one-to-one or one-to-few at best) is significant! Only broadcast TV technology such as M/H can truly deliver the real TV experience.”
Finally, what’s the future of Siano and MDTV, as well as ATSC-MH? He added: “Siano has been around the broadcast MDTV business for the past seven years; we’ve seen markets rise up successfully (Japan, Korea, China, Latin America) and fall miserably (Europe, US in the past – with Modeo’s DVB-H and Qualcomm’s MediaFLO). From this perspective, we believe very strongly in ATSC-M/H since it’s driven from the inner workings of the US broadcast industry.
“We are extremely successful in China and Latin America (50 percent and 40 percent market share, respectively) and we’ve moved into the US market very aggressively, having already launched a product in this market in the fall of 2010. Today, the Siano IC receiver for M/H is the best in the market, already being designed and deployed by several leading customers into devices that will be launched in 2012.
“As such, 2012 is the year for MDTV in the US – should it ramp up successfully, not only will the US be back again as a leader in showing just what TV innovation is all about, but also, Siano will be a pivotal player in the market with a dominant share – just as we have achieved in our other markets.”
Have you ever been stuck in the back of a cab forced to watch the same 5-minute video loop over and over? Almost all of us have firsthand experience with the extremely limited, pre-recorded, TV programming currently offered on public transportation.
This will all change with the introduction of Siano Mobile Silicon’s revolutionary new platform, RallyTV, that delivers high-quality, live in-vehicle digital TV. Consumers on-the-go can enjoy live TV broadcasts on smartphones, tablets and laptops anywhere, anytime.
* Passengers can watch live TV, including local programming.
* Compatible with all smartphones, tablets, and laptops.
* No need for special hardware or software on the end-user side.
* Provides high-quality mobile DTV even while traveling at high speeds.
* Optimal for many end-users on public transportation or fewer users in private vehicles.