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Korean Broadcasters Choose ATSC for DTV

South Korean broadcasters have agreed to use the U.S. ATSC standard for digital TV. Although the Ministry of Information and Communication announced in 1997 that Korea had chosen the ATSC standard (See the December 1997 RF Current), the decision was opposed by broadcasters, the Korean Broadcasting Engineers Technicians Association, the Union of Media Workers and others who favored the DVB-T standard. Although some ATSC DTV facilities were constructed in metropolitan areas, broadcasting was limited to 13 hours per week. The start of broadcasting in rural areas was delayed when broadcasters KBS and MBC refused to conduct government performance tests for their DTV facilities. At the "Four Person Digital TV Comparison Trial Committee" meeting on July 8, an agreement was reached in which ATSC would be used for fixed reception and DVB-H and T-DMB standards would be used broadcasts designed for mobile and cell phone reception. Factors leading to the agreement included improvements in ATSC technology and the "social and economic costs" of switching transmission methods.
Donga.com in an article U.S. Standard Chosen for Digital Broadcasting by Tae-Han-Kim said the Information Ministry expected 80 percent of the people to have access to digital broadcasting by year's end with five major metropolitan cities beginning digital broadcasting before the start of the Athens Olympics. The article quoted Nah Bong-ha, head of the Telecommunications Satellite Division in the ministry, stating, "The conversion to digital broadcasting will be completed nationwide by the end of next year, and analogue TV broadcasting will stop altogether by around 2010."