HKTV's latest mobile TV plan halted again as legal action begins

Communications Authority halts processing of station's latest proposal on mobile TV service after legal action against government begins

PUBLISHED : Friday, 25 April, 2014, 3:59am
UPDATED : Friday, 25 April, 2014, 3:59am

The Communications Authority has stopped processing Hong Kong Television Network's proposal to change the transmission standard for its mobile television service after the station took the dispute to court.

The move will further delay HKTV's plan to launch its mobile television, as the choice of transmission standard is crucial to providing the service.

HKTV has applied for a judicial review of the government's response to its proposal for a mobile service. Although the application has yet to be approved, the authority's legal experts have advised the watchdog against further communication with HKTV over mobile television matters.

"We don't want to drag the process on, but … we don't want further complications … as legal action has started," authority chairman Ambrose Ho Pui-him said.

Last month, HKTV called off its plan to launch mobile television in July after the authority frowned on its proposal to use the same transmission standard as free television stations TVB and ATV.

HKTV's mobile service could reach more than 5,000 households if it used the DTMB standard, requiring it to have a free-to-air licence on top of a mobile television licence, the authority said.

Days before HKTV sought the judicial review, it also made a proposal to the authority to adopt the DVB-T2 standard instead of DTMB.

The format - which supports standard definition, high definition and mobile television - targets "not just rooftop and set-top antennas, but also PCs, laptops, in-car receivers, radios, smartphones, dongles, and a whole range of other innovative receiving devices", according to the Digital Video Broadcasting Project, the consortium behind DVB-T2.

A HKTV spokesman said the DVB standard was suggested by the Office of the Communications Authority last month.

"HKTV acted accordingly and submitted a technical proposal on April 8, and now Communications Authority says they have stopped processing it," he said.

Separately, Ho said the authority would monitor whether the legal action that ATV was embroiled in would affect its financial soundness, a factor the watchdog will take into account when considering whether to renew its licence, which expires next year.

Former ATV directors Payson Cha Mou-sing and brother Johnson Cha Mou-daid are suing the station's major investor Wong Ching for HK$245 million for failing to complete an agreement for the repayment of a loan, according to a High Court writ filed this week.