Monday, November 26, 2007

[The Chosun Ilbo, November 22 2007] Way Cleared for IPTV

A special committee of the National Assembly on Tuesday passed a bill on Internet Protocol Television, clearing the way for the new media service in Korea. IPTV enables viewers to search information for items they see on TV and even buy them without interrupting the program they are watching. Seong Jang-hyun, a manager with the KT Media division preparing for the launch of the service, said a full IPTV is possible in the first half of next year.

KT and Hanaro Telecom are already operating the MegaTV and HanaTV services, an early stage of IPTV.

This reporter visited the KT Media building at Yeouido in Seoul on Wednesday morning to experience the IPTV test service. When KT staff pushed buttons on a remote control, the online Chosun Ilbo appeared on TV. The service also enables viewers to search articles. For example, if a viewer types the word “restaurant” into the remote, all relevant articles that contain search term are displayed on the TV. People can trade stocks in real time, just as they can on their computers.

Then there are weather forecasts specifically for the region where the viewers live -- or a stadium of golf club they want to visit -- unlike existing forecasts that cover only major cities. The service figures out where a viewer lives through the IP number. HanaTV, which was launched ahead of MegaTV, already provides 70,000 programs to call up, and over 700,000 subscribers can enjoy each program at a time. Currently, the monthly subscription fee is W13,000 (US$1=W929) for HanaTV and W10,000 for MegaTV. When the full IPTV service starts, the subscription fee is likely to rise, but the full service will provide a greater variety of programs as well as live terrestrial programs plus more additional services.

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