Chinese Digital TV Standard Coming 'Soon'

China’s broadcast regulators will announce the nation’s terrestrial digital television standard "soon," state-run media reported Monday.

The chosen standard will be promoted for a year before full implementation, but no firm timetable for introduction and rollout was announced by the State Administration for Radio, Film, and Television (SARFT), according to the English-language China Daily website.

The standard covers not only digital broadcasting for traditional television programming, but also for transmission to mobile devices. Several trials are under way throughout China using standards developed in Europe and Asia, including Samsung-backed terrestrial digital mobile broadcasting, a derivative of the European digital audio broadcasting); and digital video broadcasting handheld, supported by Nokia and other mostly European companies.

Formats other than those chosen for the national standard will be removed from the market, the report said. Unlike other technology standards including wireless LANs and third-generation (3G) mobile telephony, China has not developed its own standard for digital television broadcasting.

With just under two years before Beijing hosts the 2008 Olympic Games, the designation of standards for both digital television and 3G telephony have taken on a sense of urgency, with time running out to implement, test and promote the new services.

The number of households with access to digital television broadcasts increased from 1 million in 2004 to more than 4 million in 2005, the report said.

-Steven Schwankert, IDG News Service (Beijing Bureau)

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