중앙데일리

Net providers compete for TV couch potatoes

Korean law doesn’t yet allow real Internet TV, but when it does, Net providers will be ready to fight for the new market.

Mar 15,2007
Internet service providers are trying to get their hands on exclusive content such as television dramas, sports events, and concerts in order to attract customers to their services.
Though there is no Internet protocol TV, or IPTV, officially in service in Korea due to government indecision on whether to regulate online television as a broadcasting service or an Internet service, telecom firms are preparing for the age of IPTV.
KT, currently the country’s largest fixed-line and broadband operator, will begin video on demand services of American major league baseball next month.
The baseball games can be watched on a computer or on Megapass TV, a service that connects the high-speed Internet to a TV set.
The content travels to the TV through an Internet connection, but the video on demand service is not considered Internet TV because it does not stream video in real time.
In order to watch live games, the user must use the service on a computer.
KT has also bought the exclusive video on demand rights for the MBC television drama series “HIT,” which begins running on Monday. The videos will be available one day after they are broadcast on television.
KT’s moves are seen as attempts to catch up with Hanarotelecom, which began a pseudo-Internet TV service called hanaTV last year.
KT has a dominant share of the fixed-line market, but Megapass TV only has 30,000 subscribers, while hanaTV has 360,000.
hanaTV is a hybrid service incorporating video on demand and IPTV characteristics: Viewers can choose what they want to watch from a list of programs, which is temporarily downloaded to a set-top box through the high-speed Internet connection.
hanaTV is also doing its part to try to acquire differentiated content. Last year, it broadcast the Korean pop singer Rain’s World Tour concert, and recently it signed an exclusive contract with the Hollywood film studio Universal.

By Wohn Dong-hee Staff Writer [wohn@joongang.co.kr]



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