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issue: April 2003 APPLIANCE Magazine

China Report
China Evaluating Digital Television Standards

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Clint Stevens, China correspondent, APPLIANCE magazine

With a population of 1.3 billion people and approximately 350 million televisions, the potential market for digital television in China is enormous.

Considering the stakes, it is not surprising that the industry is anxiously anticipating China's decision on digital TV standards. China plans to release digital TV standards by the end of this year, and will start large-scale trial broadcasting in major cities in 2005, Government officials said.

"We have determined the satellite transmission standard for digital television and the cable transmission standard will also be completed by the end of this year, but the ground transmission standard is still in the pipeline, " said Bai Weimin, division chief of Broadcast and Television at the Department of Electronics and Information Technology Product under the Ministry of Information Industry. Ms. Bai also said that China is still evaluating proposals for a ground transmission standard, and that the final standard may combine the advantages of a number of proposals with deliberations expected to continue all year. "All five proposals have some similar factors to the three major digital TV standards adopted by the U.S., Japan, and Europe, respectively, but considering the huge economic interests related to accompanying royalties, we must be very cautious," said Wu Feng, a chief engineer with the Academy of Broadcasting Sciences under the State Administration of Radio, Film and Television (SARFT). It has been reported that South Korea uses the U.S. Advanced Television Systems Committee standard and pays about U.S. $40 royalty for every equipped TV set. It would cost China $1.4 trillion, if every TV was replaced by a digital set.

According to Xu Qin, deputy director-general of the Department of High Technology Industries with the State Development Planning Commission, his Commission has set up a special fund for the development of China's digital TV technologies, which will be a major high-tech project for the State in its 10th Five-Year Plan (2001-2005). He added that by 2005, all major Chinese cities will start digital TV trial broadcasting, and formal commercial broadcasting will be launched in cities in 2008. Nationwide broadcasting is expected to begin in 2010, and by 2015, analog broadcasting will stop in the country, according to SARFT's plan. Beijing, Shanghai, and Shenzhen have already started trial broadcasting of digital TV programs


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