04 June 2005

What is DMB and why is it trying to crawl into my ear? (Part 2)

Part One

The Republic of Korea, and to a somewhat lesser degree, Japan, have adopted widespread usage of DMB in order to allow massive concentration of wireless activity. Cellular telephones in the RoK already are incorporating 3G features that require broadband connections; the lines beteen personal computers and PDAs have faded, leading to a youth culture in the country that is highly tech-savvy. Radio broadcasting has become audio-internet in NE Asia; television is on its way to losing the passive "idiot box" orientation of its first 50 years, and becoming more like the internet.

Some of this is, of course, overhyped, and it's easy to get swept up in the anticipation of an arcadian future for these countries, a sort of NE Asian "School of Athens." Koreans are not going to suddenly abandon game shows for historical epics, merely because producers have pay-per-view. However, the technology is likely to enable radically change the way people consume entertainment. For one thing, the choice will be far greater, and the real demand for "content" is going to not be, as it as before, advertizers; now it will be viewers. My guess is that consumers will pay more attention to programs, since they will pay for them.

The old arrangement under which a TV entertainment consumer videotaped programs while away, then watched them at leisure, is going to be replaced by a server in a warehouse responding to signals from consumers. The consumer will have the PCS transmit the movie or episode of a soap opera


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