Here’s an intriguing new twist on an idea that’s as old as broadcasting itself: At a date still to be determined, Granite’s KOFY in San Francisco will employ a technology from Motive Television that can use part of the station’s airwaves to transmit shows to mobile devices. The service, which will include VOD, will be free — but since it doesn’t use the Internet likely will require users to buy an antenna that plugs into their tablets or smartphones. Over time smart devices are expected to have TV reception antennas built in. I’m told it’s just a coincidence that the announcement of the venture — called Broadcast Cloud JV — comes a day after the unveiling of Aereo, which will charge consumers $12 a month to receive local broadcast programming via the Web. Here’s today’s announcement from Granite and Motive:

New York and London: February 15, 2012 – Granite Broadcasting Corporation (Granite) and Motive Television plc (Motive) today announced they are forming a joint venture, Broadcast Cloud JV (BCJV), that will pursue the development, implementation, and use of existing broadcast spectrum to provide live television, customized linear TV channels, video-on-demand, and catch-up television directly to portable devices such as iPads, Android tablets and smart phones. In addition, Granite and Motive will soon begin a separate test of Motive’s internet-based Television Anywhere technology at KOFY-TV, Granite’s television station serving the San Francisco-Oakland-San Jose, CA market.

The BCJV will utilize Motive’s patented and proprietary technology that has been in commercial use in Europe since 2009, and extend its reach to portable devices in the United States. Once completed, this will enable Granite and other broadcasters to use their existing ATSC spectrum assets to make their current broadcast signal directly available to devices beyond the television. This will provide consumers with free access to broadcasting content everywhere they are and on the device of their choice, while allowing broadcasters to broaden their audience and deepen their relationship with viewers.

Peter Markham, Chairman of Granite Broadcasting Corporation, commented, “The US television broadcasting industry has invested hundreds of millions of dollars over the past several years to convert to a digital format. BCJV will provide all broadcasters with the ability to leverage that investment to communicate directly with a broad array of mobile devices and continue providing innovative new services in each local market we serve. This is an excellent opportunity for broadcasters to expand their lead in providing locally and nationally relevant video content and create a number of new revenue streams for all of our partners. We are especially pleased to expand on our successful partnership with Motive, who has proven to be a global market leader in developing innovative television technology and services.”

Leonard M Fertig, CEO of Motive Television plc, added, “Before there was an Internet-based Cloud, there was a Broadcast Cloud, a one-to-many, pervasive, scalable, and extremely efficient method of distributing video content. The Broadcast Cloud has no need for hotspots, internet connectivity or the added distribution and access costs associated with today’s internet services; it provides content free over the air to a mass audience. With the creation of BCJV, we will use Motive’s patented and commercially proven technology to update the American broadcast distribution system and enable it to serve the needs of today’s and tomorrow’s viewers.”

BCJV will leverage Granite’s broadcast stations and digital assets to provide both facilities and local staff support for testing, pilot projects, and other trials for the BCJV technology. Granite will also contribute its management expertise, sales and marketing input and assistance in promoting the BCJV technology to the broadcasting industry and will cooperate on the development of the BCJV business and strategic plan.

Motive will provide BCJV with an exclusive license to use the underlying Motive technology and Motive’s know-how in the development of the BCJV technology. Motive will provide engineering expertise and also oversee the day-to-day management of BCJV, including sales and marketing of the BCJV Technology and licensing to third party broadcasters, content owners and other potential partners.