Free Mobile Broadcasting Starts on Inchon Subway

By Kim Tae-gyu
Staff Reporter

A passenger watches a TV program on a cell phone on an Inchon subway train,
Tuesday, as terrestrial digital multimedia broadcasting becomes available.

Koreans are now able to enjoy terrestrial digital multimedia broadcasting
(DMB), the free video-on-the-move services, even at some underground subway
lines and stations.

The nation's six terrestrial DMB broadcasters Tuesday completed installing
devices to enable commuters on Inchon subway lines to watch videos there.

``This is the first time terrestrial DMB has become available on the
underground subway lines,'' said Kim Hyuk, an official at the private
Special Committee for Korean Terrestrial DMB.

``Roughly 200,000 daily commuters who take the Inchon subway lines will be
potential customers of terrestrial DMB offerings thanks to the expansion of
the service-enabled areas,'' he added.

Terrestrial DMB, which debuted last December, allows people on the road to
enjoy crystal-clear video, CD-quality audio and data via in-car devices and
handheld gadgets like cell phones.

However, the mobility-specific services have been inaccessible in the
underground subways due to an investment delay for gap fillers, which are
necessary for relaying broadcasting signals into the subterranean

That has been one of major disadvantages for terrestrial DMB in a
competition to attract clients against another go-anywhere TV format called
satellite DMB.

Video services based on satellite DMB, enabled by signals beamed from a
satellite, can be watched on all the subway lines in Seoul, Inchon and the
surrounding Kyonggi Province.

The six terrestrial DMB broadcasters plans to follow the suit of its
satellite-empowered competitor by building up gap fillers at all underground
subway lines in Seoul and its vicinity by June.

``To cater for the envisioned need for the on-the-move TV service in June,
when the German World Cup kicks off, we look to establish gap fillers at
subway lines before the football event,'' Kim said.

``Toward that end, installation of gap fillers has begun and up to 28.8
billion won ($29.5 million) will be invested,'' he added.

The expansion of terrestrial DMB is a two-track job _ on top of extending
its service areas underground, the government is keen to provide the
offerings nationwide.

``Terrestrial DMB services will be launched across the country in December.
The government appears to fix the exact scheme and roadmap to do so late
this month,'' Kim said.

Presently, terrestrial DMB services are available at mostly open-air areas
in Seoul, Inchon and Kyonggi Province, another shortfall in comparison to
satellite DMB, which can be seen in any open-air region in Korea.

03-28-2006 17:29


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