Gov't announces digital TV transmission standard 2006-08-31 09:40:18

The Chinese Government has released the long-awaited digital TV terrestrial transmission standard. (File Photo)

The Chinese Government has released the long-awaited digital TV terrestrial transmission standard. (File Photo)

    BEIJING, Aug. 31 -- The Chinese Government finally released the nation's digital TV terrestrial transmission standard yesterday, but it will take some time before digital terrestrial broadcasting becomes a significant business in the world's largest TV market.

    The Standardization Administration of China said yesterday on its website that the proposal for the transmission standard was approved on Aug. 18 as the compulsory national standard, and will be effective from Aug. 1 next year.

    Along with 3G mobile communications, the digitalization of China's broadcasting is regarded as a lucrative market, which could be worth over 1 trillion yuan (125 billion U.S. dollars). Therefore, it will become a key area in which China wants to have its own standard in order to cut royalty payments and assume an advantageous position in the global industry.

    Digital TV broadcasting takes place in three ways: cable, satellite and terrestrial, with China mainly following international standards in the first two areas.

    Cable broadcasting is the only major transmission format currently in use in China, as the terrestrial standard was not decided until Aug. 18 and satellites for direct broadcasting have yet to be launched.

    At the end of last year, only four million households across the nation had access to digital cable TV broadcasting, with the number expected to reach 10 million this year.

    But the country has more than 400 million households with TV sets and only 128 million had access to cable TV at the end of last year, meaning that the majority of digital TV transmission is expected to rely on the terrestrial method.

    China began to develop its own terrestrial transmission standard in 2001. Proposals made by Tsinghua University and Shanghai Jiaotong University were later merged into a final draft proposal.

    The Shanghai version borrowed some principles from the U.S. standard and is suitable for transmission in sparsely populated remote areas, while the Tsinghua proposal is based on the same modulation method as current and future mobile communication standards and has its own patents, which will cut royalty costs.

    Zeng Huiming, editor of the Radio and TV Information magazine, said the standard came out late, because of the process of reaching a compromise, but it may not be a big problem for the industry, as China has just started to promote the terrestrial transmission model.

    He believed that an essentially Chinese version of the standard would not pose a serious threat to foreign equipment manufacturers, as many of them were already involved in the Chinese proposals and plenty of time remains for them to adapt the new standard.

    Sun Min, vice president and board secretary of Tsinghua Tongfang Co. Ltd., agreed: "This is just a beginning with this standard. The real commercial benefits still depend on future development."

    Sun's company, a flagship enterprise of Tsinghua University, is believed to be a major beneficiary of the Tsinghua standard.

    He said his firm had been working on some transmission and network construction trials, but these remain in their infancy.

    (Source: China Daily)

Editor: Nie Peng
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