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