With the prices of flat-panel digital TVs falling faster than originally expected, Hong Kong’s free-to-air broadcasters may not wait for China to roll out its own digital terrestrial TV standard and instead choose a different technology as soon as the third quarter of this year, senior executives at Television Broadcasts (TVB) have said. TVB’s Assistant Managing Director, George Chan, said: “We have underestimated the speed at which digital TV would develop, and we need to catch up with the market trend.”
Hong KongÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s TVB and Asia Television (ATV) plan to launch digital broadcasting no later than the end of 2007. So far, they have not decided which technical standard to adopt. Both have been waiting for the mainland to adopt a new standard but if it does not become available by the end of this year, they may opt instead for the European DVB-T standard, South China Morning Post reports. Thus far, China has not said when the new standard might be unveiled.
Broadcasters earlier said adoption of the mainland standard would give them greater economies of scale in both hardware and programming. But the pressure is on for them to reach a decision now. TVB General Manager, Cheong Shin Keong, said: “TV and set-top box makers urge us to make the decision as soon as possible so as to confirm their production capacity. It would be better if the market has sufficient choice of digital-compatible TV sets once we roll out the service next year,” Mr Cheong said, adding that TVB will work with ATV closely on this issue.
TVB hopes the fact that Beijing Olympics coverage will be available in high-definition format will prove a powerful marketing tool for digital service. Mr Cheong said the broadcasters would decide on a digital standard in the next two months, and then seek government approval.
(Source: Asia-Pacific Broadcasting Union)