China is planning to serve some 200 million rural families with satellite signals, and switch off its analogue terrestrial signals by 2015. A pilot project tested the concept in the north and northwest of China in the Ningxia, Hebei and Inner Mongolia regions has paved the way for expansion to other rural areas, said Zhang Haitao, deputy director of China’s State Administration of Radio, Film and Television (SARFT).
Currently, at best, these target regions receive six analogue channels often with very poor image quality. The digital satellite service will deliver 25 TV channels, plus 17 radio services, as well as the signals dedicated to emergency services. The signals are said not to be available to urban residents.
A dedicated satellite will be used, and the Government-approved set-top boxes will not be able to receive signals from other satellites, according to SARFT.
Zhang said China now has 189 million homes receiving cable TV.