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Digital Multimedia Broadcasting (DMB) is a method of bringing multimedia images, radio, Internet, and television to portable devices through digital radio transmissions. DMB can be transmitted through both satellite (DMB-S) and terrestrial (DMB-T) methods. The transmission is received by a hand-set that could be installed in cell phones, laptops, navigation systems, or digital cameras. Its use is limited, as the United States and several other countries, as of 2006, have not adopted it.
Digital Multimedia Broadcasting, both satellite and terrestrial transmissions, was adopted by South Korea in 2005. It is capable of running on III (VHF) and L (UHF) radio frequency bands. Terrestrial DMB transmissions make use of some of the most sophisticated video and audio coding available to provide the best quality images. Satellite DMB transmission is capable of covering an entire country and is already being used by TU Media, a component of the South Korean communication company SK Telecom, to provide over 12 video and 20 audio channels to subscribers on the go. DMB-T services provide seven video, 13 audio, and eight data channels.
South Korea, with one of the highest numbers of Internet users in the world, has not only fully adopted both DMB-S and DMB-T, but it is also intent on promoting its use abroad. South Korean conglomerates such as LG electronics and Samsung conduct frequent international demonstrations.
Handheld-Digital Video Broadcasting (DVB-H) is the chief rival of Digital Multimedia Broadcasting. When promoting Digital Multimedia Broadcasting during a 3GSM conference in Cannes, LG electronics emphasized that DVB-H makes for higher infrastructure costs, since the technology is less compatible with Eureka 147 Digital Audio Broadcasting (DAB), the standard for digital radio transmission used commonly throughout the world. DMB is designed to be compatible with DAB. In fact, it uses DAB as a transported medium to stream images.
Much of the technological components necessary for Digital Media Broadcasting and Digital Video Broadcasting transmissions, however, are similar. Having originated in Europe, DVB is a set of internationally accepted standards for digital television. There are four formats in which it is available: Satellite (DVB-S), Terrestrial (DVB-T), Cable (DVB-C), and Handheld (DVB-H).
The South Korean task force charged with encouraging the worldwide use of DMB has achieved some success. In March 2005, the European Telecommunication Standards Institute (ETSI) chose to adopt the Handheld-Digital Video Broadcasting system as the standard. In July 2006, Digital Multimedia Broadcasting was adopted as a standard as well. Germany adopted terrestrial Digital Multimedia Broadcasting for the FIFA World Cup in 2006. France, Indonesia, Italy, and Switzerland are experimenting with the use of Digital Multimedia Broadcasting, while China and the United Kingdom have adopted it for commercial purposes.
Manufacturers of chips, handsets, and other technology necessary to fully implement this digital broadcasting entertainment innovation are anticipating a tremendous growth in sales. Success in South Korea alone, with a projected 6.6 million subscribers to satellite Digital Multimedia Broadcasting services by 2010, suggests that the use of Digital Multmedia Broadcasting will be further expanded.