중앙데일리

In legislative limbo, firms offer pseudo Internet TV

July 05,2007
At a demonstration for MegaTV yesterday at the Seoul Plaza Hotel in downtown Seoul, participants try online banking services. MegaTV, however, does not support live broadcasting programs like Internet TV does. [YONHAP]
KT has begun a pseudo-Internet TV service called MegaTV, upgrading its current video on demand service, MegapassTV. Because Internet TV services aren’t officially allowed yet because the government hasn’t decided whether or not they fall under the realm of broadcasting or communications, telecom companies like KT and hanarotelecom are getting around the laws with these services, catering to increasing demand for Internet TV.
KT, Korea’s top fixed-line service provider, yesterday launched a two-way high-definition television service that enables viewers to choose their own content. Two-way services include such features as Internet banking or stock trading through one’s TV via a high-speed Web connection. KT has been preparing for Internet Protocol Television, or IPTV, services since 2004, cooperating with some 130 companies. This year alone, it invested 140 billion won ($152 million) in MegaTV, another 150 billion won in content investment, and 400 billion won in constructing a cable network because the service requires a broadband connection.
The company has been investing heavily in this service because it believes that the future lies in the convergence of telecom and broadcasting, as is the global trend. On a global basis, IPTV subscribers will grow from 1.9 million in 2004 to an estimated 32 million in 2009, according to the Electronics and Telecommunications Research Institute. In Korea, the think tank believes that subscribers will reach 3.7 million by 2010.
“TV was only one-way and viewers could only watch it, but now they can search for information and other content. Other than the fact that it doesn’t support real-time broadcasting, the technology and equipment is the same as Internet TV,” said KT President Nam Joong-soo.
However, that is one of the biggest obstacles that MegaTV faces. Regular TV programs like dramas and news are available on MegaTV 12 hours after they are broadcast on public broadcasting channels.
The laws relating to IPTV are in the Assembly. Politicians and industry leaders have been arguing over whether Internet TV should be considered the Internet or TV for over three years.
hanarotelecom launched a similar service, hanaTV, last year. It has been immensely successful, although, like MegaTV, it cannot broadcast live TV programs.“We are undergoing difficulties trying to vitalize the industry and getting exhausted while waiting for the bill to be passed,” said Lee Young-hee, of KT’s media department.

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



dictionary dictionary | 프린트 메일로보내기 내블로그에 저장