DMB Pushing Carmakers to Go IT


Carmakers are willing to form business alliances with information technology (IT) companies on the back of the introduction of digital multimedia broadcasting (DMB).

The world’s first DMB service enables people on the road to save seamless video, theater-quality audio and data through in-car terminals or handheld devices like cell phones.

Drivers can also watch television and have access to a variety of information via DMB receivers.

While policymakers are discussing whether to allow drivers to enjoy the DMB service over safety, carmakers have actively been seeking tie-ups with electronics firms to provide such services.

LG Electronics provides Hyundai Motor’s Grandeur sedans with terminals for telematics, a cross between computer technology and wireless telecom, enabling a wide array of services inside an automobile.


Hyundai Motor, Korea’s No. 1 automaker, is aiming to adopt state-of-the-art terminals in coordination with LG Electronics, under projects to boost domestic sales amid the rising domestic demand from an economic turnaround.


As a synergistic effect, customers of LG Telecom are entitled to receive information from the Grandeurs’ telematics through their cell phones.

This can be comparable to the mobile financial services in which credit cardholders pay their bills through cell phones at stores and restaurants.

Ssangyong Motor, Korea’s fourth-largest automaker, clinched a three-year alliance with Innertube, specialized in car-oriented DMB and telematics services, in September.


Recent digital products continue to tear up the traditional barriers between thus far disparate sectors like telecom and broadcasting as well as fixed-line and wireless.


Foreign carmakers also began tapping the so-called digital convergence between the automobile and IT sector.

Intel offers IT solutions to about 3,000 salespeople from BMW Group and employees of the German carmaker are buying products from the U.S. chipmaker.


The digital convergence occurs in the three segments of network (fusion of wireline and wireless), services (mobile broadcasting) and devices (camera phone).


As an example, there are digital camera-embedded hanets as an example of digital convergence in devices. They successfully bundle a mobile phone with a digital camera into a single gadget.


Aside from the telematics-car-navigation system, the hip convergence wave can also be seen in go-anywhere TV, one-phone service, home networking.


The DMB service has two versions _ one satellite DMB and terrestrial DMB. The former is enabled with a signal beamed from a satellite while the latter is based on over-the-air signals used for today’s TV broadcasting.


Satellite DMB was launched in Korea in May this year and now sports 11 video channels and 26 audio broadcasts for fees with several terminals available. Terrestrial-based services began recently in limited areas.

- Source from The Korea Times (Jan 03, 2006) -