Thursday, August 03, 2006

T-DMB, S-DMB Korea Update

Korean T-DMB and S-DMB

A reminder that Korea has a highly successful debut into mobile TV platforms - one is via satellite TV broadcast, S-DMB (launched May 2005) and the other terrestrial TV broadcasts, T-DMB (December 2005). Both are thriving. T-DMB is non subscription based while S-TMB is.

The mobile TV technology for terrestrial, has been jointly developed by Korea's Electronics and Telecommunications Research Institute and Samsung Electronics. The system uses conventional terrestrial transmitters with direct broadcast to handheld devices to receive up to 28 different channel/services on offer. Many are direct re- broadcast of regular TV programming.

Six television broadcasters have been granted licenses to operate T- DMB. They are: KBS, MBC, SBS, YTN DMB, Korea DMB and U1 Media. They have formed a grouping called "T-DMB Special Consortium" to unify their common interests. To-date, coverage has been limited to the capital, Seoul and its surrounding Gyeonggi Province.

The consortium said that June 15 was a milestone for T-DMB with sales of design-specific, mobile phones having topped one million units. On average some 10,000 T-DMB handsets are sold everyday despite their carrying a high price tag (500,000 Korean Won, just over US$500).

Meanwhile, the S-DMB service complements T-DMB.

Only one operator, TU Media is currently licensed. TU Media says that it has 700,000 subscribers spread across the whole country. They pay 13,000 Won per month for a package of 12 TV and 36 Audio channels. The choice of content is much broader than T-DMB including games, animation and movie channels.

Digital multimedia broadcasting is the current daily topic of discussion across Korea and has spurred a number of new handheld products to the market.

The home grown Korean technologies for digital mobile broadcasting are finding their way around the world and have been tested in several European countries.

The most tangible result so far is in India. Through a bilateral accord, the Korean Ministry of Information is working with the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of India to establish T-DMB. Partners in that project are the major players, Tata Group and GSM mobile operator, Bharati-Airtel. India is expected to offer a "huge potential" for DMB.

[I recommend the dedicated government web site in Korea for a complete run down of digital mobile broadcasting in the country at http://www.t-dmb.org . It is available in Korean, English and German.Ed]

TDMB technologies were exported to India where the market potential is said to be huge.

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