China to Launch Hobbled Mobile TV Service for Olympics

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When the Beijing Olympic Games begin this coming August, China’s much-touted mobile TV broadcast service won’t be operating at full capacity, according to EE Times:

“The homegrown Chinese system has been designed to operate by picking up two signals: a 2.6-GHz satellite signal and a 700-MHz terrestrial signal. However, no satellite will be operating in time to realize the full promise of the China Multimedia Mobile Broadcasting (CMMB) standard—technology also known as STiMi (Satellite and Terrestrial Interactive Multiservice Infrastructure).”

What happened is that EchoStar, the American company building one of the required satellites, has backed out of the agreement. It’s not clear whether it’s because of a technical problem or because they want more leverage to renegotiate the deal, the report said. In the meantime, large swaths of China will be relying on the terrestrial portion of the mobile TV network during the games in August while this gets all sorted out.