Posted by: Ihlwan Moon on May 23, 2006
It isn’t just flat-panel TVs that could score big from next month’s World Cup soccer tournament. In South Korea at least, hundreds of thousands of soccer fans are snapping up multimedia handsets, notebook PCs, car navigation systems, Personal media players, and PDAs capable of receiving TV broadcasts in time for the month-long event, which kicks off on June 9 in Germany. Korean broadcasters will beam the World Cup matches to tiny screens on the move, using Digital Multimedia Broadcasting (DMB) technology.
As of the end of April, more than 620,000 people owned mobile gadgets doubling as TV receivers, and another 150,000 are expected to buy the gizmos this month. Owners of mobile TV receivers will also be able to watch everything from soap operas to the evening news – all for free. Another 550,000 are subscribers of TU Media, a subsidiary of SK Telecom, the country’s largest mobile carrier, which offers TV-on-the-go service by beaming signals via a satellite at a monthly fee of $13.
Officials at the Ministry of Information & Communication believe DMB will have a significant impact on the Korean economy. The local market is expected to reach nearly $13 billion by 2010, the government says. And while in other parts of the world soccer fans are expected to buy wall-sized flat-panel TVs for the event, in Korea they’re almost as likely to be watching on their cell phones.