Hong Kong's two domestic free television stations, Asia Television Limited and Television Broadcasts Limited, will phase in digital terrestrial television services from December 31.
Secretary for Commerce & Economic Development Frederick Ma told reporters Hong Kong will be the first to adopt the national digital terrestrial television (DTT) transmission standard developed by the Mainland.
The initial launch will serve up to half the city's population, covering areas in Kowloon, north Hong Kong Island, part of Sha Tin and east Lantau Island.
The companies will expedite the construction of six transmission stations to advance the target of covering 75 percent of the population from end of next year to early next August, so more people can watch the 2008 Beijing Olympics digitally.
The two stations will simulcast their existing four channels digitally and launch new free channels on standard-definition television and in high definition.
They will continue to broadcast the four existing channels in analogue so viewers can choose when to switch to digital broadcasting according to their own needs.
Broadcasting Authority member Adrian Wong said technical standards have been amended and the two stations will enjoy more flexibility in arranging their new programmes.
(CRI, November 28, 2007)