Monday, April 17, 2006

Hong Kong HDTV Countdown to 2007

Hong Kong is part of China. As such the Olympic Games 2008 in Beijing are dictating a lot of coordination decisions between the Hong Kong SAR and the capital.

Hong Kong is also hosting the Equestrian Olympic Events. So the question of Hong Kong's switch over from analog to digital TV takes on an added significance as Beijing has stated that the country will convert to digital and high definition by time the Games start.

Hong Kong it seems will be ready in 2007.

On March 29, its Commerce, Industry & Technology Bureau set up working groups with local terrestrial TV broadcasters, Asia Television Limited (ATV) and Television Broadcasts Limited (TVB)-- "to ensure the timely and smooth launch of digital services next year".

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

The Broadcasting Authority has already approved ATV and TVB's investment plans for their digital TV rollout. ATV has committed more than HK$400 million(US$51.28 million) up to 2009 to provide a hybrid HDTV digital service and multi-channel broadcasting, while TVB has committed the same for an HDTV channel with 14 hrs of HDTV programming daily.

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

ATV and TVB will extend the coverage of their digital networks to at least 75 percent of Hong Kong by 2008. A main transmission location will be in Tze Wan Shan.

If the mainland has not decided upon a national transmission standard by the end of 2006, ATV and TVB will adopt DVB-T.

Analog in Hong Kong will likely end five years after the start of DTV.

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