Digital broadcast system launched for Games

People in Beijing will be able to watch the 2008 Olympic Games free of charge on electronic devices such as mobile phones, digital cameras and MP4s.

Beijing Radio yesterday officially launched a free Digital Audio Broadcasting (DAB) service, which broadcasts smooth high-definition digital audio and video programmes to mobile equipment.

"Twelve Beijing Radio channels, as well as TV programmes from CCTV-News and BTV 1 are available through the DAB service from today, while China National Radio and China International Radio will join us later," said Wang Liang, head of Beijing Radio, at yesterday's launch ceremony,

"Besides, TV programmes designed especially for mobile terminals with small screens are also under development.

"From the beginning of 2007, DAB services will begin to transmit information about government affairs, daily life, the city and real-time traffic and weather conditions," Wang added.

According to a news briefing for DAB, it will also provide municipal services such as a hospital treatment register, which has been a major concern for Beijing residents for a long time.

During the 2008 Games, foreigners visiting Beijing will be able to rent receiving devices to ease their stay.

In addition to helping visitors find destinations such as hotels and hospitals, the DAB system will also be used for audience management and for emergency incidents at the 2008 Games, according to an unnamed source with Beijing municipal government.

The government estimated there will be over 1 million DAB system terminals in the city by the opening ceremony of the 2008 Games.

The receiving terminals must be equipped with digital video broadcasting chips to gain access to DAB services.

Cellular phones capable of taking the services will be available by the end of this year at a price of about 5,000 yuan (US$625), according to sources from Lenovo, the first designated manufacturer of DAB cellular phones in Beijing.

Rural residents in Beijing are temporarily unable to receive this service, since it only covers the area inside the Sixth Ring Road at present.

Source: China Daily

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