North Koreans to soon loose access to South Korean TV
South Korea, like many countries, is coming towards the end of a transition from analog to digital broadcasting and ending analog transmissions region by region.
The process began in August but didn’t affect North Korean viewers until October 25, when analog TV was switched off in Gangwon province. The second stage that will affect North Korea is the final step in the process, when analog TV in the Seoul metropolitan area and Gyonggi province will end on December 31.
Because digital signals are incompatible with analog television sets, South Koreans must purchase a new TV or a set-top box converter that will allow continued viewing on older TV sets.
While buying one of these doesn’t present a problem for South Koreans, they’re unavailable to North Koreans. As a result, the South Korean government is about to achieve something the North Korean government has so far been unable to do: prevent all homes north of the border from tuning into South Korean TV networks.
The precise number of North Koreans who tune into broadcasts from the south is difficult to know, but a survey carried out in 2010 found a quarter of 250 defectors and travelers surveyed outside of North Korea admitted to tuning into foreign TV broadcasts.
Chinese broadcasts such as Yanji TV were the most commonly viewed foreign broadcasts among the respondents. This is a partial product of the geographic distribution of the sample, as a high proportion of survey respondents hail from the Chinese border region. Some respondents from the southern part of North Korea also reported watching KBS and other South Korean broadcasts directly. — A Quiet Opening, Intermedia, May, 2012
Of those, 15 percent reported watching Korean-language broadcasts from China at least once a week. Only four percent said they tuned to South Korea’s KBS on a weekly basis.
Caution needs to be taken with both numbers because of the small sample size and focus on North Koreans that had made it overseas. Many of these come from northern provinces that border China, so a true picture of foreign TV viewership in southern provinces is even more difficult to come by.
To watch South Korean TV, viewers in the north must already put up with incompatibilities. The south uses the American NTSC broadcasting standard while the north uses the European PAL system. That means a multii-standard analog TV is required, or putting up with a black and white picture that probably suffers from low quality.
There is significant evidence that people in the southern regions of North Korea are able to get around compatibility problems between PAL-D and NTSC broadcasts in order to view South Korean broadcasts directly, by purchasing conversion equipment, obtaining NTSC or multisystem televisions, or simply by watching the programs in degraded quality. Anecdotal reports suggest that relatively inexpensive Chinese-produced multisystem televisions may be available in southern North Korea, though it is not clear whether that is the result of consumer demand or simply a fortunate production coincidence. — A Quite Opening, Intermedia,
But at least the signal comes through.
Digital broadcasts viewed on analog sets appear no different from the static displayed when tuned to an empty channel. In the future, digital TVs might make it into North Korea although differing standards could again cause problems.
South Korea has adopted the American ATSC digital system while China has gone with its own format, DTMB. Therefore, Chinese TVs brought across the northern border will likely be useless for reception of South Korean TV stations.
|Print article||This entry was posted by Martyn Williams on November 6, 2012 at 11:47, and is filed under Media, Television. Follow any responses to this post through RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback from your own site.|
No trackbacks yet.
about 2 months ago - No comments
As a computer-based war-game, the Ulchi Freedom Guardian exercise that begins this week in South Korea requires lots and lots of computers. In pictures released Thursday by the U.S. Department of Defense, some of those computers and the complexity of the set-up can be seen. The images and a video show the inside of the…
about 5 months ago - 2 comments
North Korea strongly denied again on Sunday having anything to do with unmanned aircraft discovered crashed on the South Korean side of the inter-Korean border. Last week, the South Korean government said it had concluded an investigation into the incident and concluded the three drones were launched from North Korea. Among its evidence, Seoul said…
about 9 months ago - 1 comment
A recently-launched iPhone app that delivers articles from the Korean Central News Agency to iPhones and iPads has been banned in South Korea. The app, iJuche, was developed and published in late 2013 and was highlighted on NorthKoreaTech earlier this week. That publicity was apparently enough to get it blocked. “I just got a call…
about 10 months ago - 1 comment
A South Korean businessman has been arrested by local authorities on suspicion of passing classified information and video and audio system technology to North Korea, Yonhap reported on Saturday. The report said the suspect, identified only as a 54-year-old man called “Kang,” worked with agents of North Korea’s Reconnaissance General Bureau to pass the information.…
about 1 year ago - No comments
Despite living in one of the most wired societies in the world, South Korean Internet users enjoy a “partly free” Internet due to government censorship of content, according to the results of a global survey on Internet freedom. Censorship of content, which includes many websites that carry North Korean content, has shot up in recent…
about 1 year ago - 1 comment
South Korean defense officials plan to soon launch a high-tech blimp just south of the disputed maritime border with North Korea in November to get a better look into the neighboring country, according to a report in Stars and Stripes. The airship will hover over the island group that includes Yeonpyong, which is the island that was…
about 1 year ago - No comments
The DPRK is loudly protesting the preliminary results of a South Korean investigation that found it was behind widespread computer disruption that hit several TV stations and banks on March 20. [Updated, see below.] The computer attacks wiped clean the hard disk drives of around 48,000 personal computers and servers inside broadcasters KBS, MBC and YTN, and the…
about 1 year ago - No comments
The mysterious cyber attack that hit an estimated 32,000 computers at South Korean TV stations and banks last week is looking more interesting, based on the latest analysis from computer security companies. The first immediate analysis concluded that the malicious software was pretty unsophisticated, in part because it was based on a piece of malware that…
about 1 year ago - 6 comments
A cyber attack on three of South Korea’s major broadcasters and several of its major banks appears to have been caused by a relatively unsophisticated piece of software, security researchers said Wednesday. [Story updated, see below] The attacks, which began at around 2pm local time on Wednesday (5:00 UTC) left desktop and laptop computers unable…
about 1 year ago - 3 comments
An apparently sophisticated and coordinated cyber attack has caused widespread disruption to computer networks and three of South Koreas largest broadcasters and two of the country’s banks. The attack first showed itself at 2pm on Wednesday when computers at KBS, MBC and YTN shutdown. Upon restarting, the computers displayed error messages saying they were unable…