TOKYO A new satellite TV service to be launched here and in South Korea in October promises to deliver programming along with radio and data broadcasting to mobile terminals.
Both countries will use the same satellite to provide national coverage. Using new, compact receivers, backers of the mobile TV scheme are touting it as a new lifestyle of ubiquitous TV reception.
Japan's Mobile Broadcasting Corp. (MBCO), which is backed by Toshiba Corp., will begin regular service here in the fall. TU Media Corp., whose largest shareholder is SK Telecom, is also preparing to launch the service focusing on TV reception by mobile phones in South Korea.
The broadcasts will be carried over the Mbsat broadcast satellite launched in March.
Satellite radio broadcasting using S-band has been offered in the United States for several years by XM Satellite Radio and Sirius Satellite Radio. "Mbco will start multimedia broadcasting, including TV, radio and data programs, which should be the first in the world," said Masashi Suenaga, MBCO's vice president. "MBCO has built up the system," said Suenaga, Toshiba's chief engineer for satellite development and the original proponent of the broadcast system.
Mbsat offers a several-fold increase in power output to enable signal reception by a small antenna embedded in mobile devices. The broadcast network uses a hybrid system consisting of direct reception and gap-fillers that allow reception in the "shadow" of tall buildings. Both techniques use the same 2.6-GHz frequency.
MBCO was established in 1998 by primary shareholders Toshiba Corp., Toyota Motors, Fujitsu Ltd. and Nippon Television Network Corp. Since then, a total 85 companies including SK Telecom and major electronics companies such as Matsushita Electric Industrial Co. Ltd. have invested in the mobile TV venture.
The service to be launched in October will include seven TV channels, 30 radio channels and one data channel, all in a 25 MHz of bandwidth. Video will be QVGA with 320-by-240 pixels resolution using MPEG-4 video coding and MPEG-2 AAC audio coding. MBCO is considering a shift to a H.264 video codec.
Toshiba is supplying the receiver chip set consisting of six components, one pair of orthogonal detection ICs and a twin PLL for tuning, demodulation, authentication and AV decoding. Samsung is also producing the chips for the Korean services.
A dedicated receiver is planned, with some car navigation and reception features at the start. "Various forms of reception are possible," said Suenaga. "The reception function can be incorporated into other equipment."