Cable viewers have to endure dreadful diet

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 16 September, 2001, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 16 September, 2001, 12:00am

Travelling to Britain and Australia over the summer has only made me more aware of the poor quality of cable television that we must put up with in Hong Kong.

Although the addition of ESPN was a pleasant surprise, apart from small snippets of other sports it is basically a soccer channel, and even the most ardent fans would agree we already have plenty of that. Not only that, with three sports channels, why do we only rarely get a live telecast of golf or other sports? Instead we must read the results in the paper and days later are granted maybe two hours of highlights. And why can't we have live Australian-rules football?

The services I saw overseas are packed with interesting documentaries, sports channels that deliver live sport telecasts, and high-quality English series, such as The Bill and repeats of classics such as Dad's Army, as well as programmes by different ethnic groups.

Although some American sitcoms such as The Simpsons are very clever, continuously showing only United States programmes, as we have here, leads to a boring diet of television. Worst of all is HBO, which shows dreadful movies, some of which must be 20 years old. Granted, some old movies are worth repeating, but most of HBO's stock seems to be made up of films which are B grade to start with and should be put away for good. Cinemax offers equally poor viewing, and yet we are expected to pay even more. If overseas viewers can have films fresh from the video shops without paying extra, why can't we?

I would like a reply, through these columns, from Cable TV. If money is the problem, I'll happily pay double if the quality of programming is improved.