New Chinese high-definition TV channels launch tomorrow
September 27th, 2009 - 15:57 UTC
by Andy Sennitt.

BEIJING, Sept. 27 (Xinhua) - Nine state-owned television channels on the Chinese mainland are poised to broadcast in high-definition from Monday, the State Administration of Radio Film and Television (SARFT)said in a statement posted on its website Sunday. All programmes on the channels would be broadcast in both high-definition and standard-definition. “All these channels have completed satellite transmission of TV signals, which enables subscribers to HDTV to watch National Day celebrations in high-definition pictures,” the statement said.

China will celebrate the 60th anniversary of the founding of People’s Republic of China on 1 October with a military parade and gala performance. China Central Television (CCTV) said Sunday on its website that its high-definition channel, CCTV-1, would feature the events, but it was unclear if other HDTV channels will also feature the military parade.

About 50 million Chinese would be watching the events in HD pictures five times clearer than standard defininition broadcasts, the Shanghai-based Xinmin Evening Post reported. The SARFT has required that subscription to these channels would be free. Subscribers need only a high-definition TV set and set-top box.

These HDTV channels include CCTV-1 and local channels Beijing TV, Shanghai Dragon TV, Hunan TV, Heilongjiang TV, Jiangsu TV, Zhejiang TV, Guangdong TV and Shenzhen TV. They will start broadcasting in high-definition from Monday, according to a schedule set by the SARFT.

There are already three HDTV channels in operation, CCTV-HD, New Vision HD, which is privately owned by Shanghai Media and Entertainment Group, and CHC HD Film of the state-owned China Film Group Corporation, all broadcasting only in high-definition. Both New Vision HD and CHC HD Film charge subscription fees and are exempt from the requirement for free-to-air transmission.

The nine newcomers will bring the total number of high-definition TVs in Chinese mainland to 12.