China dials up trial run for mobile TV

BEIJING — Chinese regulators will run trials of mobile TV broadcasts in mid-2007, in time to cover the Beijing Olympic Games the following year.

The State Administration for Radio, Film and Television said China would begin testing South Korea’s digital multimedia broadcasting (DMB) technology next year. It will activate a satellite system in 2008 to beam the content across China so that millions of sports fans can keep up with the Olympics via their cell phones.

Mobile telecom operators China Mobile and China Unicom are expected to sign agreements with phone makers by the end of the month for TV-enabled handsets, according to the China Daily newspaper. DMB phones have already been tried out in Shanghai.

China has some 426 million cell-phone users, and the number is increasing by 5 million each month, according to the Ministry of Information Technology.

China announced a “TV on the go” system for the capital in January, offering two video channels and data services such as traffic and travel info via mobile phones.

Separately, Sarft said Tuesday it’s set to announce a digital TV standard for the world’s biggest TV market.

Digital standard will apply to terrestrial, satellite and cable broadcasts.

More than 4 million households receive digital pay TV, and there are more than 120 licensed pay channels. Some 30 million households are expected to sign up for digital pay TV in coming years.

The country has been testing digital cable TV since 2003 in 49 areas covering more than 1 million subscribers.

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