DTH

Hong Kong to launch digital TV next year

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MUMBAI: The Hong Kong Commerce, Industry and Technology Bureau has set up working groups with Asia Television Limited (ATV) and Television Broadcasts Limited (TVB) to ensure timely and smooth launch of digital services next year.

Led by the Hong Kong office of the Telecommunications Authority, the groups will work with the TV stations to solve technical issues related to the transmission and reception of digital terrestrial TV, and facilitate inter-departmental coordination to ensure successful migration from analogue to digital TV at different stages.

Media reports indicate that a new website has also been launched as part of a major publicity drive to raise awareness and improve understanding of digital TV. Beijing's 2008 Olympic Games are the driving force speeding up the introduction of digital terrestrial television in Hong Kong. The administration will require the territory's two terrestrial television broadcasters to start digital transmissions by next year.

In July 2004, Hong Kong Broadcasting Authority announced the implementation framework for digital TV in Hong Kong.

The bureau approved the investment plans of ATV and TVB for their digital TV programme service and network rollout.

According to the blueprint, ATV and TVB will start broadcasting their existing services in both analogue and digital format (simulcasting) and launch a new digital service on the respective additional frequency channel assigned to them by 2007.

The government has yet to decide its transmission standard. If the mainland has not promulgated a national standard before the end of 2006, ATV and TVB will adopt the European digital video broadcasting - terrestrial standard which has been widely adopted internationally.

The government has set up two working groups, led by the Office of the Telecommunications Authority, to work with the two broadcasters to ensure an integrated launch of digital TV.

According to the government timetable, ATV and TVB shall provide their existing services in both analog and digital format by 2007.

Subject to further market and technical studies, the government will direct ATV and TVB to cease analogue broadcasts by 2012, Lai said.

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