China accelerates bi-directional DTV

At the 2009 China Digital TV Forum, Wang Xiaojie, director of the State Administration of Radio, Film and Television’s (SARFT) Department of Science and Technology, said that SARFT will increase its demands on the ongoing DTV conversion efforts, calling on networks which have already converted to DTV to more quickly switch to bi-directional DTV, and on networks which have not yet completed conversions to convert directly to bi-directional DTV (i.e. to directly provide subscribers with bi-directional STBs).

Wang said that by the end of 2010, bi-directional DTV coverage in all major and mid-sized cities throughout the country would top 60 per cent; by the end of 2011, coverage in these areas will reach 95 per cent, and in other cities will top 50 per cent. By the end of 2012, total bi-directional urban coverage throughout the country is targeted to exceed 80 per cent of all subscribers.

Also at the forum, Zeng Jiezhong, general manager of Hunan TV Cable Network Group, said that Hunan province will convert 500,000 cable subscribers to bi-directional interactive digital TV set-top boxes by the end of the year.

Meantime SARFT has revealed plans for urban deployment of terrestrial HD. Before the end of this year, self-governed municipalities as well as a handful of other cities will launch two terrestrial HDTV channels, while each prefecture-level city will launch one. Xie Jinhui, vice president of SARFT’s Academy of Broadcasting Planning, said that terrestrial HDTV will be provided free of charge and unencrypted as a public service.

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