Television in Hong Kong

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Television in Hong Kong is primarily in Cantonese and English. It is delivered through analogue and digital terrestrial, cable, IPTV, and the Internet. Satellite TV is not common, although many housing estates have dishes and re-distribute a limited number of free channels through coaxial cables. The dominant broadcaster is TVB.

History of free-to-air TV in Hong Kong[edit]

Hong Kong's television history began with the launch of Rediffusion Television (RTV) on 29 May 1957 (later renamed as Asia Television (ATV)). RTV started off as a cable subscription service but became a free-to-air broadcaster in 1973, with Cantonese and English channels. In April 2016 the Executive Council decided not to renew ATV's broadcast licence and its channels closed.

Television Broadcasts Limited (TVB) was the territory's first free-to-air commercial station (launching in 1967) and remains the predominant TV broadcaster today with multiple Cantonese channels and one English channel, on analogue and digital.

A short-lived network, known as Commercial Television, opened in 1975 and operated for about three years until its bankruptcy (see 1970s in Hong Kong).

Government owned Radio Television Hong Kong (RTHK) (a radio broadcaster from 1949) starting making TV programmes in 1976 - to be aired on TVB and ATV and later on Cable TV and Now TV. In 2016, RTHK took over the analogue frequency of ATV and now also has its own digital channels

HKTVE, commonly known as ViuTV started broadcasting in 2016, on digital only, with a Cantonese channel and an English channel.

In May 2017, Fantastic Television started free-to-air broadcasting, on digital only, initially with a Cantonese channel.

There is also an Internet television and VOD channel called Hong Kong Television Network (HKTV, owned by City Telecom) which was launched in 2014 and can be viewed on smart TVs, set-top boxes, personal computers, smartphones and tablet computers.

Subscription networks[edit]

Satellite TV[edit]

Programming[edit]

Hong Kong's soap drama, comedy series and variety show productions reach mass audiences throughout the Cantonese-speaking, and even Mandarin-speaking, world.

Regulatory control[edit]

Television in Hong Kong is not subject to China's regulatory or 'content' control and is under the purview of the Communications Authority in Hong Kong.

History of Digital television[edit]

Hong Kong was not required to follow China's standard,[1] but the Hong Kong government nevertheless opted to use DMB-T/H (now known as DTMB) as the digital television broadcast standard in 2004[2] (hence rejecting the DVB-T standard originally proposed in 1998 and trialled in 2000).[3] The official commencement of digital TV broadcasting was at 7pm on 31 December 2007 as the first digital TV signal transmitter in Tsz Wan Shan went online.

In October 2007, both broadcasting companies agreed to utilise the MPEG2 video format for simulcasting channels (TVB Jade, ATV Home, TVB Pearl and ATV World); the H.264 format will be implemented for all digital-broadcasting-only channels.[4]

For the audio codec, usual DTMB set-top boxes would support MPEG-1 Audio Layer II (MP2) for stereo audio tracks, and Dolby AC-3 for surround sound audio tracks. The official specification defines standard-definition broadcasting as 576i at 25 frame/s and high-definition broadcasting in 720p at 50Hz or 1080i at 25Hz.

All major transmitters were completed by 2008, covering at least 75 percent of the Hong Kong population.[5] The current coverage reaches 99% of the population[6]. Digital switchover is expected to take place in 2020, postponed from the originally planned date in 2015.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]