The Media Bureau's recent decision to waive some of the tuner requirements for Mobile DTV devices not only gives manufacturers greater flexibility in how they design and market these new receivers, it ensures the devices can be in the hands of consumers in time for the 2010 holiday season. Mobile DTV, or MDTV, is a kind of television service designed for use on-the-go instead of in a single location.
Current FCC rules require that all television receivers have the ability to get both digital and analog signals. Although full-power television stations stopped broadcasting in analog last year, the analog broadcast standard remains in use by some low-power broadcasters. Until the requirement is removed, television manufacturers must ask the Commission's approval if they want to produce a device without an analog tuner.
A group of Mobile DTV manufacturers recently asked for this approval which, among other things, would eliminate their having to produce a potentially larger, heavier and pricier device that uses more power. We promptly approved their request, furthering the Commission's commitment to foster innovation and competition in the marketplace.
Where the service is available, consumers will be able to watch live MDTV on compliant netbooks, smartphones and portable TVs in their cars. Many MDTV devices also will be able to receive standard television. Look on the packaging to see whether a particular model receives MDTV signals only or if it also gets nationwide standard DTV signals. The device will not only provide news and entertainment while on the move, it will be another way to receive critical information in times of emergency.