New Revolution, IPTV
New Revolution, IPTV
  • Hwang Jeon Seo-kyung
  • 승인 2007.03.26 18:03
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After the appearance of Digital Multimedia Broadcasting (DMB) in 2005, Internet Protocol Television (IPTV) is making new revolutions in areas of broadcasting.  The Internet is becoming constant in our lives.  People can see some programs anywhere through a portable television, with the development of technology of communications.  This change is one of many changes that are breaking down a boundary between an area of broadcasting and a field of communications.  Both industries confirmed the benefits and profits of DMB along with objectives to introduce IPTV.

Definition; What Is IPTV?

Firstly, IPTV is defined as follow by Wikipidia.  “IPTV is a system where a digital television service is delivered using the Internet Protocol over a network infrastructure, which may include delivery by a broadband connection.” On one site, “search,” IPTV is defined as; “IPTV is the delivery of programming by video stream encoded as a series of IP packets.  IPTV can be free or fee-based and can deliver either live TV or stored video.  It can be bundled with other Internet Protocol services, including VoIP and high-speed Internet access.”  A definition of IPTV is various and there is not a legalistic and a systemic definition in most of nations, yet.  For example, it’s called ‘Broadband TV’ in Europe, Japan and Hong Kong.  And it is named ‘Telco TV’ or ‘ADSL-TV’ and ‘TV over IP’ or ‘TV over DSL’ in England and in France.  Generally, IPTV has been recognized as a new service coming out on a process of digital convergence, at times.  And also, IPTV has been understood as a service and equipment that provides TV programs and multimedia content through the Internet.

Feature; IPTV and DMB

DMB is simpler than IPTV.  DMB is capable of watching TV programs either outside or during transferring through a recorder.  If someone uses DMB during transferring, he or she enjoys high sound quality and high definition programs.  Now, two types are servicing in Korea.  One is T-DMB (Terrestrial DMB).  T-DMB started common use service for free since December 2005.  However, this service is using only the Metropolitan area including Seoul.  Another is S-DMB (Satellite DMB).  This service has been provided in the whole country, since May, 2005.  This service charges a one-time service fee of 20,000 won to join and a 13,000 won monthly fee to receive S-DMB.

On the contrary, IP-TV is received in high definition TV programs through ADSL or others.  Someone can immediately order something while watching the home-shopping channel.  And also, users can use VOD (Video on Demand), PVR (Personal Video Recorder) or DVR (Digital Video Recorder), E-mail, information search and so on, because it is possible to offer bidirectional services.  If WiBro (Wireless Broadband) is made into regular use, people can see more high-resolution programs through a notebook or PDA (Personal Digital Assistant) than DMB.  However, unlike T-DMB for free, users should pay some charges.  IPTV can be used, if connected to a TV and a set-top box.  It is different with web-casting.  In other words, once there is a link to a set-top box and a TV, some users who cannot handle the computer or Internet can easily use it by a remote control.

Conflict; What Is the Point at Issue?

If somebody simply thinks that, IPTV is only a good thing, they must consider other points at issue such as the following; institutional inertia and loop holes in the law, conflict between relating businesses because of a definition of legal character, fair competition and making environment.  If so, how does each businesses circle declare the parameters of IPTV?

Ministry of Information and Communication Republic of Korea (MIC)

This ministry defines IPTV as convergence services of broadcasting and communication that provide various multimedia content through networks.  The ministry declares that; IPTV has to be ordained as a new additional communication service.  And then, it should approach as a featherbed industry through the third special law.  The ministry intends to industrialize development, and introduce before regulation.  Common carriers are also on equal positions.

Why IP-TV is not broadcasting?
(1)  “Telecommunication” on The Telecommunications Basic Act includes “broadcasting” on Broadcast Law.  For this reason, it is not pertinent to distinguish between broadcasting and communication.  Because IPTV is not provided on Broadcast Law, surely IPTV is applied for The Telecommunications Basic Act as including law.
(2) IPTV is similar with CATV (cable television).  However, IPTV differs from CATV because IPTV is a two-way service that follows requests of users.
(3) According to Broadcast Law, IPTV is “duplex,” not “transmission.”  It is not apt to contain a concept on IPTV because; IPTV uses ways of “packet” instead of “channel.”
(4) The duplex information conforms to telecommunication, to link following a request of users come under the telecommunication service.

Korea Broadcasting Commission (KBC)

The commission defines IPTV as television over digital IP (TV over IP), and regulates that audio, data, VOD, EPG, home-shopping, home-banking without real time broadcasting is additional services.  This commission claims that IPTV’s major service is broadcasting service.  It is restricted with Broadcasting Law, before being established a relating system or law because the prospectus is like cable television.  They aim to promote public interest, and insist to invite IPTV after verifying culture and social effects.
Why IPTV is similar to broadcasting?
(1) Although IPTV uses net-work, IPTV has features of broadcasting; to transfer TV or data broadcasting for public.
(2) IPTV applies to regulation of expression (un-exclusion, non-monopoly, 1: majority), not confidentiality (exclusion, monopoly, 1:1).
(3) IPTV uses wired networks and sponsor comprehensive services expecting broadcasting.  It is very analogous to cable television.
(4) There is little point in arguing about distinction of broadcasting and communication.  According to The Telecommunications Business Act, the major service is broadcasting. Consequently, IPTV is regarded as broadcasting.


If we manage offence and defense, IPTV industry expectations may have positive effects.  The research of Korea National Statistical Office in 2005 states broadband internet service subscribers were about 11,921,439 persons.  This large numbers of subscribers may be latent subscribers on IPTV.  Also, there are lots of charged broadcasting subscribers in Korea.  This fact means that demand about charged broadcasting is increasing in Korea.  IPTV industry doesn’t start from zero.  Various infrastructures already were built in Korea.  The IPTV market is bright; however, if some conflicts aren’t resolved soon, IPTV may not become only brighter and fair.

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