China to launch high-definition terrestrial digital TV broadcast in 2008

MUMBAI: China will launch high-definition terrestrial digital TV broadcasts in 2008. A five-year (2006-2010) guideline on cultural development has been published.

Media reports inform that China also aims to replace the existing analog cable television with digital cable television in all the cities in its eastern and central regions and most of those in the western area by 2010.

A report in Xinhua states that China will adopt a terrestrial digital TV broadcast standard - the mandatory broadcast signal for Chinese broadcasters - on 1 August next year. A study by Research and Markets further notes that China plans to stop the transmission of analogue television by 2015. With the rise of DTV, China has established relevant policies to gradually eliminate analogue TV and enter the era of DTV.

Though compared with developed countries, China is lagged far behind in the field of digital TV, yet it made rapid progress in 2005; altogether 4.13 million Chinese subscribed digital TV, increasing by over twofold compared to the previous year. Among them, 3.97million were digital cable digital TV subscribers.

Also, problems can be found in Chinas DTV industry. They are backward standard, difficulties in network consolidation, deficient terminal, immature market, serious shortage of content, deep-rooted receiving habit, want of price system, immature core technology, incomplete DTV industrial chain, need of further probe in business modes and systems. All these factors severely restrict the development of the DTV industry in China.

It can be seen from the development trend that DTV is bound to substitute for analog TV,. However, as to digital pay TV, China is still exploring a suitable operation mode and there is still a long period of time before its maturity. SARFT (The State Administration of Radio Film and Television) of P.R.C. is always vigorously popularizing DTV in China. The Chinese government, along with channel suppliers, channel integrators and cable network operators is zealous about the popularisation of DTV, offering a fairly good and unique circumstance for the development of digital pay TV.

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