Hong Kong is entering a new era of digital broadcasting
The two domestic free television broadcasters, Asia Television Limited (ATV) and Television Broadcasts Limited (TVB), will launch digital terrestrial television (DTT) in phases from 31 December 2007 to bring viewers a brand new audio-visual experience. The initial DTT coverage includes Kowloon Peninsula, north of Hong Kong Island, part of Sha Tin and east of Lantau Island (covering about 50% of the population of Hong Kong).
The Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development Mr Frederick Ma said, at a press conference held on 26 November 2007 (please click here for the press release), that Hong Kong will be the first to adopt the national DTT transmission standard developed by the Mainland. DTT broadcasting will bring to viewers a wide array of free programme choices, better reception and open up new creativity platforms for television production. ATV and TVB have pledged to speed up the construction of six transmission stations to advance the target of providing 75% coverage from the end of 2008 to early August in 2008, so that more people would be able to watch the Beijing Olympics with digital broadcasting.
Since DTT signals will be broadcast on new frequency channels, building management offices should check and, if necessary, upgrade their communal aerial broadcast distribution (CABD) systems for reception and distribution of DTT programmes. The Housing Department has already planned to upgrade the CABD systems at its own expense for all public housing estates in phases. The Government will also liaise with major property management companies to provide them with technical assistance in carrying out the upgrading works.
Viewers will also need to connect their existing television sets to a digital set-top box, or buy an integrated digital television set with a built-in decoder for receiving DTT programmes. The Government has introduced a voluntary labelling scheme to assist the consumers to make informed choice when purchasing DTT receivers.
To educate the public about DTT, announcements produced for the first time in high definition format will be shown on television and in the showrooms of major electronics retailers. The Government will also join with the Consumer Council and the two TV broadcasters to launch public education and publicity campaigns, and distributing leaflets and posters, to provide correct information on DTT.