DTV Transition Progresses in Australia, Delayed in Korea

January 5, 2004
The number of homes in Australia receiving DTV with a digital TV set or a set-top box decoder will reach 250,000 by the end of 2003, according to the articleDigital Revolution Gathers Pace by Christian Catalano on That number is up from 75,000 at the end of April 2003. Catalano says by 2008, 40 percent of Australian households will have "gone digital." The article quotes Swinburne University film lecturer Jeff Bird discussing the attractiveness of HDTV: "The picture resolution is three to four times as good as both standard-definition analogue and digital. It's really like looking out of a window." Terrestrial DTV has been on the air in Australia for two years and since July broadcasters were required to each broadcast 1,040 hours in HDTV.

The picture in Korea is not as clear. Kim Tae-gyu, staff reports for Korea Times, reports in his article Digital TV Broadcasting Delay Becoming Costly that the presidents of local terrestrial broadcasters -- KBS, SBS, MBC and EBS -- asked the government to delay expansion of a DTV system based on the ATSC system. As reported earlier, the broadcasters favor the European DVB standard. Kim Tae-gyu said "some broadcasters and experts raised concerns over the U.S. standard's capability to supply quality services to viewers or vehicles on the move and insisted the government switch to the European system."

Kim Tae-gyu's article quoted Park Goo-man, professor of the Seoul National University of Technology: "The government must change the standard to the European one for various reasons. The European system is technically superior and especially has better mobility-specific applications. Actually, the move is a the-sooner-the-better case. Look around the world. Who uses the U.S. system? Just Canada, America and Korea. The European system has been adopted by nearly 50 countries worldwide. Taiwan also changed their system to the European standard two years ago."

The ATSC system is being defended by the government and DTV manufacturers, based on their initial investment in the system and the "higher quality" of the system. Broadcasters are concerned about extra production costs with the ATSC system and that an alternative system for mobile DTV using ground digital multimedia broadcasting (DMB) or satellite DMB could force then to compete with mobile operators for that audience.

For more information see Kim Tae-gyu's articles Digital TV Broadcasting Delay Becoming Costly and Expansion of Digital TV Broadcasting Postponed/

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