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Digital Broadcasting

1. Digital Terrestrial Television

The Government announced in July 2004 the implementation framework for digital terrestrial television (DTT). According to the implementation framework, the two existing terrestrial domestic free television broadcasters, ATV and TVB, are required to begin simulcasting their existing four television channels in both digital and analogue formats in 2007 at the latest and achieve 75% of digital coverage by 2008. Subject to further technical and market studies, the Government aims to switch off analogue broadcasting in five years after the commencement of simulcast.

The Authority has an active role to play in assisting the Government in executing the implementation framework. To ensure a timely rollout of DTT in accordance with the implementation framework, the Authority issued directions to ATV and TVB, pursuant to their respective licence conditions, to submit further information and updated investment plans on digital broadcasting for the Authority's examination by the end of 2004. The Authority will carefully scrutinize their submissions to ensure that their proposals will conform to the implementation framework and the transition to DTT broadcasting will be smooth.

2. Digital Cable Broadcasting

HKCTV started digitization of its HFC and MMDS network in January 2002 and substantially completed digitization of the two networks by June 2004. By using the compression ratio of 6:1 for digital television channels, HKCTV increased the number of channels from 31 in early 2002 to 86 as at August 2004. With the digital transmission, apart from the expansion of its programme service channels, HKCTV has improved the picture quality and enhance the capability to combat illegal viewing of its programme services. In August 2004, about 97% of HKCTV subscribers were receiving its digital broadcasting service.

3. Digital Satellite Broadcasting

Two pay television operators, viz. Galaxy and HKCTV, provide digital satellite broadcasting services. As at August 2004, 51 out of the 54 television channels provided by the 14 non-domestic television programme service licensees were provided in digital format. In Hong Kong, over 30% of the households can receive digital satellite broadcasting services via the SMATV Systems installed in their buildings.

4. Digital Broadcasting over ADSL

PCCW Media provides digital broadcasting service via a broadband ADSL network which has reached more than 90% of the total households in Hong Kong.

Figure 38 : Coverage of Digital Television in Hong Kong (Percentage of Total Households)


5. Digital Audio Broadcasting

The Government has decided that the launch of digital audio broadcasting service should be market-led and there should be no regulatory obstacles to the deployment of new technologies and entrepreneurial ventures to launch innovative services including digital transmission of specialised info-data to specified user groups. The Government welcomes applications for launching digital audio broadcasting trial services and has made available L-Band frequencies for digital audio broadcasting implementation. Subject to spectrum availability, it may also consider applications for using Band III frequencies for digital audio broadcasting.