Ultra-HD broadcasts go live

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Ultra-HD broadcasts go live

Ultra-high-definition broadcasting, which promises to be four times clearer than high-definition service currently available, will go live in the Seoul metropolitan area today, the Ministry of Science, ICT and Future Planning and the Korea Communications Commission said Tuesday.

The UHD broadcasts will begin at 5 a.m. on three Korean stations: KBS, MBC and SBS. Serviced areas include the cities of Seoul and Incheon and the province of Gyeonggi.

UHD transmission marks a major step in Korea’s broadcasting industry, which began airing digital broadcasts in 2001. The higher-quality medium allows the transmission of clearer resolution, three-dimensional sound and will even allow viewers to interact with content over the internet, according to the government.

The three stations will unveil their own versions of interactive services like video on demand, which is already being offered by cable providers, at the end of this year.

During the initial rollout, UHD programming will account for 5 percent of all content aired by the three stations. The government hopes to expand that portion by an average 5 percent every year.

Not all customers with a television will be able to enjoy UHD content. The broadcasts will only be available through UHD televisions made with an ATSC 3.0 chip and connected to an antenna that can handle a certain bandwidth. Customers without such a TV will need a separate set-top box.

The government plans to expand UHD coverage to other metropolitan areas including Busan, Daegu, Daejeon, Gwangju and Ulsan by November. The region around rural Pyeongchang County in Gangwon will also get coverage this year ahead of the 2018 Winter Olympics being held there.

The rest of the country will gradually receive UHD service by 2021.


BY SEO JI-EUN [seo.jieun@joongang.co.kr]

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