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NEC hooks up cell for digital TV

Unit to be on display at Telecom 2003 in Geneva

TOKYO — NEC will launch a prototype next-generation cell phone that’s capable of receiving digital terrestrial broadcasting in three major metro areas in late December.

The model, with built-in digital-feed aerial and tuner, will be on display at Telecom 2003 in Geneva, Switzerland, on Oct. 4.

When ready for the mass market, the cell is likely to change the whole spectrum of digital terrestrial distribution; so far, appliance manufacturers have been reluctant to market TV sets or set-top boxes capable of receiving analog and digital terrestrial signals as well as digital satellite feeds at prices affordable to average consumers.

Some cable ops and program providers are attempting to retransmit digital terrestrial programs via cable at minimal additional cost to customers.

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