218,000 DTT receivers in Hong Kong homes

Thursday, July 17th, 2008

Digital TV coverage extended to 75% of population in 18 districts

With six new transmitting stations coming into service, the coverage of free digital terrestrial television (DTT) broadcasting will be extended to all 18 districts reaching 75% of the population by early August this year, enabling more people to view the Beijing Olympic Games on digital TV.

Speaking at a ceremony to mark the extension of the DTT coverage today (July 17), the Acting Permanent Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development (Communications and Technology), Mr Alan Siu, said that with the collaboration of the two free-to-air TV broadcasters, Asia Television Limited and Television Broadcasts Limited (Hong Kong: 0511), the transmitting stations at Golden Hill, Kowloon Peak, Castle Peak, Cloudy Hill, Lamma Island and Mount Nicholson are being launched in phases.

“By early August, all the six transmitting stations will have been launched. The DTT coverage will expand to all 18 districts and more people can enjoy the brand new audio-visual experience brought by DTT,” he said.

DTT broadcasting was first launched by the two broadcasters at the end of last year through the main transmitting station at Temple Hill, reaching about 50% of the population and covering the northern part of Hong Kong Island, Kowloon peninsula, part of Shatin and the eastern part of the Lantau Island.

Mr Siu said, “The launch of DTT was generally well-received by the public. According to a survey conducted jointly by the Government and the two broadcasters in end-May, about 9.7% of households (approximately 218,000 families) are now watching DTT via DTT receivers (including set-top boxes or integrated digital TV sets) or computers.

“The DTT take-up rate in most of the advanced economies does not exceed 5% in the first year of launch, while that of Hong Kong has reached nearly 10% just six months after the launch. Following the extension of the coverage and launching of the Olympic Games programmes by the two broadcasters, it is expected that more people will switch to DTT.”

The launch of DTT has substantially widened the programme choice for the TV audience. Apart from watching the programmes of the four existing TV channels of the two broadcasters in digital format, viewers can now select programmes from nine new free DTT programme channels in the format of standard definition television (SDTV) or high definition television (HDTV). The broadcasters will also launch Olympic channels during the Games period for viewers to closely follow the event.

“To view a wider variety of programmes with DTT, viewers may not need to buy a new TV set. They just need to install a proper set-top box for their existing TV set if the communal aerial broadcast distribution (CABD) system of the building concerned has been upgraded, or the reception quality of the stand-alone TV antenna used by them is good, ” Mr Siu said.

The Office of the Telecommunications Authority (OFTA) has recently enhanced its online database to include new areas covered by DTT signals as well as information on whether the CABD system of a particular building has been upgraded.

The Acting Director-General of Telecommunications, Mr Ha Yung-kuen, said, “According to the responses from building managers and incorporated owners of 10,000 buildings covered in our recent survey, about 63% of them have upgraded or plan to upgrade their CABD system to receive DTT signal by early August.”

To obtain the latest information on DTT broadcasting, including whether your building is covered by DTT or whether the building’s CABD system has been upgraded, please visit the Government’s dedicated digital TV website www.digitaltv.gov.hk, or call the OFTA hotline at 2961 6333.