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Samsung opts for TV with everything – in Korea

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Samsung is going TV crazy and adding terrestrial digital multimedia broadcasting (T-DMB) receivers to a wide range of its products. The latest product to appear in South Korea with a TV capability is the Q1, Samsung's ultra-mobile PC (UMPC).

Samsung digital media vice president David Steel said: "Television is proving to be very popular and we are bringing T-DMB versions of many of our products to the Korean market."

Samsung's phones, PDAs, PCs, UMPCs, notebooks and monitors are all sprouting 10cm aerials and T-DMB has been growing in popularity over the past year. Steel says models will be launched in the European and US markets as soon as the regulatory bodies finalise their plans.

T-DMB is the multimedia version of Digital Audio Broadcasting (DAB) which is currently being tested in the UK with the aim of launching services next year. A major problem will be bandwidth allocation and this may differ from country to country. Even if the European Union adopts the so-called L-band frequencies, the US will not follow because these frequencies are currently used by the military.

As with all wireless technologies, the real limitation to acceptance of T-DMB broadcasts will be battery life of the receivers. In the case of the Samsung Q1, battery life is currently around 2.5 hours at best. Mobile phone batteries generally give longer usage between charges but TV will soon drain the cells.

This means users will have to carefully manage their TV viewing habits or risk the possibility they will not be able to use the primary functions of their gadgets. The good news for the manufacturers is that T-DMB will probably boost sales of spare batteries.

Samsung is trying to keep product costs down for its latest devices. It hopes that falling prices for current components and improved manufacturing techniques will compensate for the T-DMB functionality and make the TV services look like a free feature. ®

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