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N. Korea in the process of introducing digital TV broadcasting
SEOUL, March 19 (Yonhap) -- North Korea is currently in the process of introducing digital TV broadcasting as part of its efforts to keep pace with global developments in this field, a Web site run by Pyongyang said Tuesday.

   The Naenara Internet portal (www.naenara.com.kp) said that after first conducting trial digital broadcasts in 2012, authorities are working on new programs and setting up related support infrastructure. It said such efforts will create an environment conducive for digital broadcasting.

   The communist country reportedly showed interest in the new broadcast system for some time, with the government formally requesting assistance from the U.N. International Telecommunication Union in February 2011 so it can switch from analog to digital broadcasting.

   Despite such interest, North Korea observers in Seoul said Pyongyang continues to use its analog broadcasting system for all TV programs and that people living in the country still own old TV sets that cannot pick up digital transmissions.

   South Korea, on the other hand, converted fully to digital TV transmission as of Dec. 31.

   Related to the ongoing effort by the communist country, U.S.-based Web site North Korea Tech said the country is in the process of choosing between the Digital Terrestrial Multimedia Broadcast (DTMB) format used by China and the Digital Video Broadcasting-Terrestrial (DVB-T) standard that is favored in Europe and much of Asia.

   If the North adopts either of these TV broadcasting standards, people in the country will not be able to see South Korean TV programs, which was possible under the analog system. Even after converting to digital broadcasting, Seoul continues to broadcast TV programs using analog technology so they can be viewed in the North.

   South Korea, meanwhile, has opted to follow the Advanced Television Systems Committee TV standard used in the United States that is not compatible with DTMB or DVB-T.

   yonngong@yna.co.kr
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