Samsung to Let Viewers Take TV 'To Go'

Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. said on Sunday it plans to make available to U.S. broadcasters a new technology that lets people watch digital television in cars, trains and on mobile computers.

The South Korean electronics maker said the new system will allow TV stations to send digital programing to portable TVs with virtually no interference. U.S. broadcasters will have to send programing by digital signals starting in February 2009, and Samsung said its technology will help them transmit the signals to TV viewers on the go.

Portable TVs equipped with the Samsung technology will be able to receive digital signals "even when you are driving at highway speeds or in a bullet train up to 170 miles per hour," John Godfrey, a Samsung vice president in charge of the project.

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"Consumers are going to be able to enjoy TV wherever they go," Godfrey told a briefing ahead of the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, the industry's largest U.S. meeting. The technology "is going to liberate the couch potato," he added.

The systems should be available to broadcasters in 2008, Godfrey said, adding that they would be relatively inexpensive because they use broadcasters' existing frequencies, towers and transmitters. The technology may cost in the tens of thousands of dollars per station, he said.

The company also said it plans to expand in digital TV, where it holds the top global ranking based on units sold, said Gee Sung Choi, president and chief executive of Samsung's digital media business.

"Our goal is to be No. 1 in flat-panel, LCD TV and digital TV" this year, Choi said.

Samsung competes in the flat-screen TV market with LG Electronics Inc, also of South Korea, and Japan's Hitachi Ltd. and Matsushita Electric. Those companies sell both plasma and liquid crystal display, or LCD, televisions.