Triple Play: Ion Media Distributes HD, Digital and Mobile TV

satellite signalFinancially strapped, Ion Media Networks says it is one of the first broadcasters to distribute three TV technologies in one broadcast stream.

In its New York and Washington, D.C. stations, Ion is offering a triple play of TV signals -- high-definition TV, multiple local digital networks and mobile TV -- under one TV digital signal.

The company owns 60 TV stations, including ones in each of the top 20 U.S. markets.

"Digital technology lets us reach more homes, enables HD quality and new digital networks, as well as mobile reception," said Brandon Burgess, chairman/CEO of Ion Media Networks, in a release.

Ion and Burgess have been at the forefront of establishing mobile TV under the Open Mobile Video Coalition (OMVC), a trade group of more than 800 broadcast television stations, where TV signals could be sent directly to mobile phones. Burgess is president of the OMVC.



Ion is using technology known as ATSC-M/H, developed by the Advanced Television Systems Committee, to enable delivery of television to mobile and handheld devices. For example, in New York, in a single broadcast stream from Ion's owned-and-operated station, WPXN, a mobile stream is broadcast alongside WPXN's HD signal and ION's two multicast channels.

Last month, Ion Media Networks filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy -- an effort intended to restructure $2.7 billion in legacy debt and preferred stock. Ion then announced it had reached an accord with a group of holders of over 60% of its first lien senior secured debt.

Ion Media Networks, parent of Ion Television, reaches over 96 million U.S. television households via its nationwide broadcast television, cable and satellite distribution systems. Ion Television also airs a specialty programming block from qubo, Ion Media's children's digital television network.

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