South Korea kicks off satellite-based mobile TV service

satellite-based mobile TV service has begun commercial operation in South Korea, according to the operator TU Media Corp.

The Digital Multimedia Broadcasting (DMB) service is expected to bring real-time digital television programs on handheld devices such as mobile phones. To access the new service, customers are required to buy handsets equipped with the antenna and chips needed to receive the satellite signals.

Terrestrial broadcasters in South Korea are also planning to launch similar TV services for mobile phone users through land-based stations from June. TU Media has plans to expand the total number of channels to more than 40 when it can relay terrestrial TV programs. Presently, the operator plans to provide seven video and 20 audio channels.

TU Media Corp is a unit of SK Telecom, South Korea's largest mobile phone operator. South Korea is Asia's third largest wireless market.

A survey conducted by the California-based research group Informa, meanwhile offers some good news for the service providers. The survey findings say, about 125 million consumers will be watching television on their mobile phone in five years from now. Handset makers will sell 130,000 TV phones this year, rising to 83.5 million by 2010.

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