Digital Terrestrial Television
The Government promulgated the implementation framework for digital terrestrial television (DTT) in July 2004, which required ATV and TVB to commence digital broadcasting in 2007 and achieve 75% digital coverage in 2008. To ensure timely rollout of DTT according to the Government's implementation framework, the Authority directed ATV and TVB to submit their updated investment plans on digital broadcasting, including in-station facilities and programming for high-definition television programmes for approval by the Authority.
ATV and TVB submitted their updated investment plans at the end of 2004. ATV proposed to launch four new standard definition television (SDTV) channels and not fewer than 14 hours of HDTV programmes during prime time per week starting from end 2007. TVB planned to provide an HDTV channel starting from end 2007, including not fewer than 14 hours per day of HDTV programmes. Both ATV and TVB proposed supplementary investments of over HK$400 million each, in additional to their original six-year plans. The Authority completed assessment of the licensees' proposals and approved the investment plans in December 2005.
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 96 as at August 2005. Digitalization has also enabled HKCTV to improve picture quality and enhance the capability to combat illegal viewing of its programme services.
Digital Satellite Broadcasting
Two pay television operators, viz. Galaxy and HKCTV, and all the 13 non-domestic television programme service licensees provide digital satellite broadcasting services. In Hong Kong, around 30% of the households can receive digital satellite broadcasting services via the SMATV Systems installed in their buildings.
Digital Broadcasting over Broadband Network
PCCW Media and Galaxy provide digital broadcasting service via broadband networks, covering 96% and 25% of households respectively.
Figure 40 : Coverage of Digital Television in Hong Kong (Percentage
of Total Households)
Digital Audio Broadcasting
The Government's policy is 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. The Authority has not received any application to conduct digital audio broadcasting in Hong Kong so far.