Analogue television gets three-year reprieve
Plans to stop broadcasting analogue television signals at the end of next year have been delayed for three years to allow more people time to switch over to digital TV sets.
The government yesterday announced its decision to wait until 2015 after a survey found the purchase of digital TV sets and signal receivers was slowing down.
A spokesman said 63 per cent of households had switched to digital, which compared favourably with overseas figures, but it meant many families would still have analogue TVs by the end of 2012. 'The disruption to the viewing public would be serious,' he said. 'By pushing back the target for three years, the government and licensees would have more time to prepare the market for an eventual analogue switch-off.'
Professor Cheuk Pak-tong, a media critic at Baptist University, noted that even now not all television programmes were filmed in digital format. 'The government overestimated people's intention to switch over and their financial situation when it first set the deadline for 2012,' he said.
But Alan Lee Pak-kuen, chairman of the Asia HD Association, said people's financial situation had little to do with it. He said the price for an HD television could be as low as HK$3,000, half the price of five years ago.
'Usually those who watch television most at home are housewives and the elderly ... but how many of them would pursue high-definition quality?' he said.
He also pointed to the shift of entertainment to the internet, where playbacks of some television programmes were available.
As of mid-May, the digital signal covered more than 95 per cent of the population.