Japan starts mobile TV rollout

Digital TV broadcasts for mobile phones equipped with special receivers have begun in Japan's major urban areas, following several months of test broadcasts, an Associated Press report said.

But finding new phones in stores proved difficult as eager consumers had already snapped up the limited number of handsets in the market, the repor said.

Japan's major mobile carriers said sales were good, but did not disclose numbers, the report further said.

Japan's mobile TV service is not the world's first as South Korea, Britain and several other nations offer a similar service, although with different technologies.

But the new service in Japan, which was free, would potentially reach the broadest market yet through the country's terrestrial digital broadcast system, which relayed images through the air via TV towers and not satellites, the report said.

It also used broadcasting air waves, rather than an Internet connection, to relay streaming video, the report further said.