DTV reaching new heights
In digital broadcast too, as in mobile communications, Taiwan has been an early-runner. The European Digital Video Broadcasting-Terrestrial (DVB-T) standard was formally adopted in 2001, enabling the establishment of Single Frequency Networks (SFN) in which more than one transmitting site may service the same coverage area. RFS came in on the ground, providing end-to-end RF solutions for 11 of the 13 new DTV antenna systems installed in Taiwan, including the pilot station.
Sharing infrastructure through the use of RFS’s world-renowned multi-channel combiners has been a vital element in enabling the five ‘free-to-air’ broadcasters to meet DTV transmission obligations with less initial investment.
“Especially in Taiwan’s varied terrain, every location is different,” says Wu. “RFS provides more than just equipment. RFS works with local broadcasters to provide full technical solutions that ensure optimal coverage in the desired service areas. In the near future we expect to be even busier, as the broadcast network is expected to double in size, with each broadcaster operating two channels via the coast-to-coast SFN.”
Government goes beyond 3G
As part of an ambitious NT$37 billion (US$1.1 billion) project, called M-Taiwan, Taiwan's government plans to blanket the island's cities with broadband wireless data networks that are integrated with existing mobile phone services by 2008. The project aims to not only cover urban areas like Taipei with wireless Internet access, but also to tie these networks together with mobile services in an M-Taiwan initiative called ‘Internet Beyond 3G’. To further spur the development of popular applications for broadband Internet users, the government will have injected US$34 million into WiMAX-related R&D by the end of this year.
On the mobile TV front, Taiwan is displaying similar forward vision. In an ‘Asia first’ in July 2005, a new channel, tailor-made for mobile reception on Kao-hsiung bus services, was trialed successfully. Again, the government is providing financial assistance for developing digital content and advanced handheld devices.
“Taiwanese people—especially the younger generation that is growing up with wireless communications—want to keep in touch, stay informed, be entertained. The ‘community’ in which this generation lives is not rooted to the ground, but is as mobile and free-moving as they are,” Wu says.
“At work, on the street, on the train, in buildings or outdoors these users will want information and entertainment dropped right into their hands. And whether this is via 3G cell phone, WLAN or WiMAX applications, or even mobile TV, RFS will definitely be in the picture, helping to deliver the solutions that deliver the services.” Taiwan is proving to the world that a mature market is not a market that has stopped flourishing. Indeed, as this ‘East Asian tiger’ advances into the 21st century, pundits predict it will remain a pace-setter. Be sure, too, that RFS will continue to act as a conduit for these technological changes as they evolve.