The number of digital TV users in China exceeded 10 million at the end of 2006, double the number in 2005, an industry insider has said.
"There were only 1.2 million digital TV subscribers in China in 2004 and four million in 2005. The number is expected to reach 20 million by the end of 2007," said Wang Yan, general manager of China DTV Media (CDM) whose 49 digital pay channels reach 4.05 million subscribers in China.
China launched its digital TV industry in May 2006 and now has 92 digital pay channels, said Wang, adding that CDM collected more than 90 percent of all digital pay-TV service subscription fees in China.
Specialist programs on sport, fashion, music and cuisine as well as documentaries, high-definition movies and TV series are available on digital TV.
But cable TV is still a very popular and economical alternative in China. Whereas CDM charges five to 180 yuan (US$22.5) per month for each of its digital pay channels, viewers can get more than 30 cable TV channels for only two US dollars per month.
Wang said the quality of digital pay-TV programs needs to be improved in order to compete with free channels.
(Xinhua News Agency January 17, 2007)