What is your experience of digital TV?
Ten years after digital terrestrial TV broadcasting commenced in Britain, I just happened to be in a reputable retail electronics store in Mong Kok last week and witnessed a demonstration of the digital TV broadcasts recently introduced to Hong Kong.
The set-top box was the most expensive of the higher tier receivers available and was connected via a high-definition multimedia interface cable to a leading Japanese brand 42-inch LCD TV.
The shop antenna was 6km from the Temple Hill transmitter site and the set-top box indicated a strong input signal.
However, to my amazement the picture quality of the simultaneous broadcasts was poor and much worse than the current analogue broadcasts.
There were many instances of a blurry picture, especially around text, reminiscent of the image quality on VCDs.
The so-called HD broadcasts, though widescreen, suffered from the same problem and were grainy in appearance.
These problems could be due to ATV and TVB attempting to squeeze too many TV channels into the one digital transmission (multiplex).
A similar situation exists with digital radio broadcasts in Britain, resulting in poor audio quality reception.
Additionally, the home-grown national digital TV standard may have technical shortcomings. Telecoms watchdog Ofta should impose minimum standard guidelines with respect to maximum channels per multiplex.
If, however, the quality issues are a result of the national digital TV standard, that is a different matter.
The standard may impress peasant farmers on the mainland but not a sophisticated society like Hong Kong, and if it is at fault, it should be replaced by proven technology before too many consumers adopt the technology.
Craig Sanderson, Lantau
On other matters...
There is a long-overdue need for the authorities to take a serious look at the way in which Hong Kong's minibuses are run.
As far as I understand it, drivers are under intense pressure to earn as much money as possible while at the wheel of a minibus and, consequently, drive along their routes at excessive speeds way above the legal limits.
They do not appear too concerned about public safety.
Having lived in Hong Kong for 14 years, I have often used the minibuses as they are an extremely convenient way of getting around, but I have now decided to no longer use them.
Can I propose that minibus drivers be regulated.
They should be paid by a system which does not require them to race against a financial clock and thereby endanger lives unnecessarily.
They should abide by the speed limits and mainly high standards of road safety observed by the vast majority of Hong Kong's drivers.
David Burton, Discovery Bay
I have registered my fax number (to stop receiving promotional faxes) but will have to wait and see how well the system works ('Thousands sign up to block unwanted faxes', December 23) after its introduction on January 18.
At the moment, I am getting between six to eight junk faxes every night.
Fax numbers shown on junk faxes have never worked, as they either do not accept a message or are 'engaged'.
Forcing them to provide an 'un-subscribe facility' number simply makes the spammers bypass the law, as this number will invariably be found to be 'engaged' on a permanent basis.
Responding to an 'unsubscribe' to a spam e-mail is also a waste of time as it only serves to inform the spammer that the address is a workable one, resulting in yet more junk e-mails in the future.
N. Pavri, Repulse Bay
I have become a frustrated customer of Standard Chartered Bank.
One of the things that bothers me is the lack of being able to make a deposit at any of their branches or ATMs during non-business hours.
I live near Cyberport and work at the airport, and it makes it difficult to do business with them since they don't have a branch at either location.
I usually catch the Airport Express by 8am or 8.15am to get to the airport, so if I have a cheque to deposit I would have to wait until 9am when a branch opens to deposit it, instead of depositing it via an ATM.
Another frustrating thing happened on January 4, at the Mong Kok branch by the MTR station. I entered the branch at 9.03am, a few minutes after they opened, and did not have a great deal to do.
It took about one minute to deposit a cheque in my company business account. However, to get some US-dollar bank drafts, to pay some invoices from the US, took me until 9.50am.
I had the money ready in HK dollars, but it took them that long to change them into US dollars and issue me with two cheques.
Obviously Standard Chartered needs to open more branches in Hong Kong.
Also, it has to make the depositing process easier for customers.
Also it needs to make the routine process of issuing US dollar cashier's cheques less time-consuming.
Maybe they would get the message if I switched my account to another bank?
David G. McIntyre, Pok Fu Lam
I refer to the letter from Renata Lopez (Talkback, January 1), regarding the performance of some Citybus captains.
Citybus is committed to providing quality bus services to our customers.
To strive for service excellence, we have provided comprehensive ongoing training courses to all our bus captains, such as superb customer service training and refresher training on driving skills.
Besides, the performance of bus captains is closely monitored by our plain-clothes driving instructors through regular ride-checks.
We have duly noted Ms Lopez's comments and are sorry for any unpleasant experience which may have happened to her.
However, as not many specific details of the incident were provided in the letter, we could not identify the staff concerned for further investigation. Nonetheless, we have duly reminded our bus captains to be considerate and helpful, and to pick up all approaching customers at the designated bus stops.
Beatrice Wong, public affairs manager, Citybus Limited