China Issues Digital TV Licenses

China’s government has issued digital television broadcasting licenses to four companies, ending the state monopoly. The move is also intended to increase competition and innovation in China’s nascent digital broadcasting industry.

However, the move is not as open as first appears – the four companies are themselves state owned. The companies are CHC Home Cinema, China Broadcast Network Company, Shanghai TV, and a five company consortium including China National Radio.

By opening up digital broadcasting in this way, the government hopes to create more opportunities for private and foreign-funded ventures, though foreign companies are not allowed to hold broadcast licenses. Regulators have approved a small number of overseas channels for broadcast on cable in Guangdong and hotels, though much of the overseas investment is likely to take the form of creating content, developing platforms and infrastructure.

A recent project in Qingdao converted 600,00 homes to digit television, with 60 government channels. China is expected to have 30 million viewers by 2008.

Digital TV in China

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Fraser Lovatt

Fraser Lovatt has spent the last fifteen years working in publishing, TV and the Internet in various capacities, and believes that they will be seperate platforms for at least a while yet. His main interests at the moment are exploring where Linux is taking home entertainment and how technology is conferring technical skills on more and more people. Fraser Lovatt was born in the same year that 2001: A Space Odyssey was delighting and confusing people in the cinemas, and developed a lifelong love of technology as soon as he realised that things could be taken apart, sometimes put back together again, but mostly left in bits or made into something the original designer hadn't quite planned upon. At school he was definitely in the ZX Spectrum/Magpie/BMX camp, rather than the BBC Micro/Blue Peter/well-behaved group. This is all deeply ironic as he later went on to spend nine years working at the BBC. After a few years of working as a bookseller in Scotland, ("Back when it was actually a skilled profession" he'll tell anyone still listening), he moved to England for reasons he can't quite explain adequately to himself. After a couple of publishing jobs punctuated by sporadic bursts of travelling and photography came the aforementioned nine years at the BBC where he specialised in internet technologies and video. These days his primary interests are Java, Linux, videogames and pies - and if they're not candidates for convergence, then what is?