HONG KONG, June 4 (Xinhua) -- The Hong Kong Telecommunications Authority on Monday adopted the National Standard as the technical benchmark for Hong Kong's digital terrestrial television service.
Asia Television (ATV) and Television Broadcasts (TVB), which are the two main broadcasters in Hong Kong, will simulcast both digital and analogue terrestrial television by the end of this year, the authority said.
Analogue broadcasting may cease in 2012, depending on the coverage of digital terrestrial television.
Office of the Telecommunications Authority Assistant Director Danny Lau said Monday the technical specification for digital terrestrial television receivers will be published this month so manufacturers can produce and supply the appropriate set-top boxes and integrated television sets for the Hong Kong market. Such receivers are expected to be available in three to six months.
The receiver specification will consist of a basic tier and a higher tier to cater for the two broadcasters' different business plans and consumer needs. Basic-tier receivers will offer consumers four existing local free-to-air television program channels transmitted in digital format. The higher-tier receivers will allow consumers to enjoy all digital terrestrial television programs, including new and high-definition ones.
Digital terrestrial television will be launched in phases. When it is first launched by the end of this year, only half of Hong Kong will be covered by digital signals.
The public can still enjoy the analogue and satellite television programs without the need of any additional equipment. If they want to receive the new digital terrestrial television programs, they must buy relevant receivers that comply with the specification set out for the local market. Management offices and incorporated owners of multistory buildings must upgrade their communal aerial broadcast distribution systems.
Lau advised the public to check whether their homes are covered by the digital terrestrial television service and whether their aerial systems are able to receive such services before buying the receivers.
Television sets and displays currently available in the market can work with the future digital terrestrial television set-up boxes. Television sets, which are high-definition ready with a set-top box connected in future, can enjoy high-definition television services when digital terrestrial television is launched. Integrated television sets with built-in digital decoders will be available later.