Hong Kong Cable comes to HD party

Rose Major

Rivalries in Hong Kong pay-TV are set to hot up even further, with Hong Kong Cable TV announcing the launch of high-definition programming on the platform. But the operator comes late to the party – PCCW’s Now TV has offered HDTV for two years, since July 2007.

Cable TV will launch HDTV on August 18, focusing initially on sports programmes. Three channels will be available – a 24-hour HD channel (HD201), an HD version of All Sports Network (ASN HD), and a “live” channel for any soccer matches or sports events that clash with ones already airing on hd201 (HD202).

Programming on HD201/202 will include UEFA Champions’ League soccer, UEFA Europa League soccer (the second-tier European soccer competition), German Bundesliga soccer and PGA golf tournaments. Cable TV has exclusive rights to the UEFA competitions, while rival Now TV has English Premier League soccer as the basis for its HD sports offering.

Vincent Cheung, Vice President, Hong Kong Cable Television Ltd, said: "The new service is introduced at this time to capture increasing market demand, with the wider proliferation of HD television equipment, the expanded availability of HD programming supply and increasing customer acceptance.”

Subscribers wanting to take up HDTV programming must rent a new set-top for HK$30 a month, as well as pay HK$50 a month for HD 201/202 and HK$20 a month for ASN HD. There are half-price offers available for those who subscribe during August, however.