Transit users in the Research Triangle area of North Carolina have a new way to stay informed during their commute.
Raleigh Mayor Charles Meeker and James F. Goodmon, president and CEO of Capitol Broadcasting Co. Inc., launch the new service.
The City of Raleigh and DTV leader WRAL announced on Monday (April 13) the first public deployment of mobile DTV in a Capital Area Transit (CAT) bus.
“We are proud to be the pilot to offer mobile digital television to the riders of the Downtown Circulator,” said Raleigh Mayor Charles Meeker. “We salute WRAL for being pioneers in mobile digital television as they were in high-definition television. We look forward to the day when all of Raleigh’s CAT buses will offer this means of information and relaxation.”
Using the ATSC-M/H mobile DTV system, the service delivers real-time digital television and data services to screens on CAT buses.
The initial installation is on a single CAT Downtown Circulator bus, but four more buses are slated to be fitted with the system for the pilot period, which runs through August 2009. An additional 20 CAT buses will be equipped with mobile DTV during the second phase of the project, which runs September 2009 through August 2010.
The on-bus screens will carry local and syndicated programming from WRAL, along with city news, real-time transit schedules, route-specific updates and other information.
“Mobile DTV broadcasting enables WRAL to better serve our viewers, communities and advertisers by providing a strong combination of anywhere access, two-way communication and mobility,” said James F. Goodmon, president and CEO of Capitol Broadcasting Co. Inc., owner of WRAL.
The technology driving the system is being provided by Harris Corp. and LG Electronics. Harris is providing mobile transmission equipment, the digital signage systems and development and support services, while LG is delivering mobile DTV receivers, flat-screen monitors and project development and support.
According to Harris, WRAL will send a mobile DTV signal of its live channel multiplexed with its ATSC transport stream from a 1 MW Harris transmitter using the Harris MPH platform for reception by LG receivers on the buses.
On the buses, Harris InfoCaster digital signage systems will distribute the content to three LG flat-screen monitors in each bus. The live WRAL mobile DTV signal will be displayed along with weather graphics, advertising, public announcements, text messages and other information.
Also involved in the project are Microspace Communications Corp., which is providing wireless networking and digital signage system management solutions, and Digital Recorders Inc. (DRI), which is integrating the communications systems on the CAT buses.
WRAL has been a leader in the DTV transition; in 1996, WRAL was granted the first experimental DTV license by the FCC. The station is the flagship station for Capitol Broadcasting and is a CBS affiliate.