LG's Cell Phone Can Pause Live TV

ILSAN, SOUTH KOREA--A cell phone that can receive satellite TV programs and "pause" them--just like a living-room digital video recorder--when the user needs to take a phone call has just been announced by LG Electronics.

The handset, called the LG-SB130 or KB1300, depending on the carrier version, was unveiled today at the Korea Electronics Show here in Ilsan, which is just north of the South Korean capital of Seoul.

Cell phones that can receive satellite TV began appearing in South Korea earlier this year when TU Media began to offer a service that beams a handful of video and audio channels to mobile devices from a satellite that was launched specifically for that purpose. Handsets from LG, Samsung Electronics, and Pantech are available for the subscription service, but the TiVo-like ability to pause broadcasts while you take a phone call is new.

How It Works

In a demonstration here, the phone was shown tuned into a satellite TV program. When a call was received, a message appeared on screen offering the user the option to pause the program and take the call. When the option was accepted, the phone immediately began recording the TV broadcast to its internal memory and freezing the image on the screen. When the call was done, the phone began showing the recorded program from the moment it was paused but still continued to record the program in its memory. In such a way, users have the illusion that they have paused a live broadcast.

The phone packs 80MB of internal memory and can record up to an hour of programming, said Lee Chang Kyu, an LG Electronics representative at the show.

Specs

Other features of the phone include a QVGA resolution (240 by 320 pixels) 2.2-inch TFT (thin film transistor) screen, an MP3 player, and TV output. It's designed for South Korea's CDMA (Code Division Multiple Access) networks and versions won't be available outside of the country largely because the TU Media satellite signal has only domestic coverage.

LG hasn't decided on a price for the handset but Lee estimated it would cost around $700 and be available later this year.

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