China is set to announce its digital television standard—which will have to be taken up by all television networks if they wish to continue broadcasting, the government has warned.
The country's State Administration for Radio, Film and Television (SARFT) has announced that a locally developed standard is soon to be unveiled. It will be promoted for a year before it is made compulsory to all broadcasters, who will be ousted from the television market if they do not accept the long-awaited technology.
No date has been given for the launch of the standard, though SARFT says it will be revealed within the coming months—and it will cover digital terrestrial, satellite and cable television, as well as mobile television services such the ones installed in Chinese buses and cars.
China began its switchover from analogue earlier this year, when the government said it would introduce digital television to areas across the nation. There is some urgency for a change to digital as the country prepares to host the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing.
Currently, several trials using Asian- and European-developed technology—including Digital Video Broadcasting-Handheld (DVB-H) and Terrestrial Digital Mobile Broadcasting (T-DMB)—are being run in China. Once the government has selected a standard, all other formats will be made unavailable.
Around 30m families are expected to sign up for digital services in the coming years, after the number of households with digital TV more than quadrupled between 2004 and 2005.