KOREA: DMB to be available on bullet trains

Signal gap fillers to be installed on all Korea Train Express lines

Korea Times
Thursday, May 4, 2006

By Kim Tae-gyu

Beginning late this month, patrons of the Korea Train Express (KTX) will be able to watch TV channels on their cell phones on board the bullet trains that run as fast as 300 kilometers per hour.

TU Media, which takes charge of the satellite digital multimedia broadcasting (DMB), Thursday said it seeks to complete installing a set of gap fillers on all KTX lines this month.

"We aim to enable KTX customers to savor World Cup games on the high-speed trains when the football gala kicks off in Germany next month," TU Media spokesman Heo Jae-young said.

"Toward that ends, we plan to funnel 11 billion won to set up gap fillers to cover all the KTX railroads as well as Pusan subway lines this month," he added.

Satellite DMB allows people on the go to enjoy crystal-clear video, theater-quality audio and data through in-car devices or handheld gadgets like cell phones.

TU Media, the affiliate of the country’s leading wireless carrier SK Telecom, debuted satellite DMB a year ago but the mobility-specific services have been unavailable at KTX.

"Broadcasting signals beamed from the satellite struggle to reach cell phones of KTX riders because they cannot penetrate the thick roof of the train well," Heo said.

"The many tunnels along the line are another headache. This makes gap fillers necessary to relay the signals from the ground to the ultra-fast trains. The devices will be established throughout the KTX line," he explained.

Currently, Korean people can enjoy satellite DMB offerings in most open-air places and some subterranean areas like subway lines in Seoul and its vicinity.

Heo said TU Media will expand the satellite DMB-available areas to all the regular trains and subway lines in cities other than Seoul and Pusan in the near future.