Hong Kong Plans For DTV by 2006

Asia Media, published by UCLA International's Asia Institute, reported the Hong Kong government will go ahead with a terrestrial DTV plan, even though mainland China has yet to decide what standard it will adopt. The article, Hong Kong: Impatient Government Acts on Digital TV Plan said the government will begin rolling out terrestrial DTV in 2006 and will free up four single-frequency network multiplexes "to lure four new players to apply for the licences." The target date for completing the migration to DTV is 2008.

Since mainland China plans to introduce terrestrial DTV in 2005, this plan could allow it to match the mainland format decision, provided the decision wasn't delayed. Hong Kong's two terrestrial TV broadcasters -- Television Broadcasts (TVB) and Asia Television (ATV) -- said it was crucial to wait for China's decision before going ahead with a plan for Hong Kong.

Under the proposal, all Hong Kong licensees may apply for digital terrestrial television licenses, including existing pay-TV license holders and non-domestic TV licensees such as Star TV and Phoenix TV. TVB and ATV will be allocated one multiple-frequency network to share, although they will be allowed to apply for additional channels for add-on services. CLSA Asia-Pacific Markets analyst Danie Schutte said, "I'll be surprised if there is a lot of interest. I think it will be niche operators [which will be interested in bidding for the licences]."

Other international DTV articles of interest include Asia Media's Japan: Digital Broadcasts Mark Fledgling Debut and Joongang Daily's Standards Trigger a Digital TV Squabble. Real Business Consulting reported Russia to Adopt European Digital Television Standards in a Dec. 3 article.