CABLE TV will get its first public airing in Hong Kong on October 31, it was announced yesterday. More than 30,000 homes in and around Sha Tin have been wired up to receive Wharf Cable's 14 channels in the basic package which costs $198 a month. Cable operations director David Keefe confirmed plans to connect one million homes by the end of next year and up to 1.5 million - 90 per cent of the territory's households - by the end of 1995. ''This is by far the largest and quickest launch of a cable service in the world,'' he said. ''We want to make cable TV available to as many homes as possible, as quickly as possible. ''But it's far better for the customer that we roll out the service in carefully planned stages, one district at a time.'' Connecting buildings in Tsuen Wan, Kwai Chung, Tuen Mun, Sheung Shui, Tai Po, Fanling and Kowloon West to the main grid will be the next stage in the operation with the aim of ''going live'' in the first quarter of next year. Hong Kong Island, the rest of Kowloon, Yuen Long and the outlying islands will follow with activation of the hill-top transmitters following the wiring-up of buildings. Mr Keefe said installation in Hong Kong would be much quicker than in other parts of the world. ''In New York, it's taken 25 years to wire everyone and there are major markets in the US which don't have cable,'' he said. ''Wiring up most of Hong Kong in just over two years is a huge logistical task. ''There has been a lot of interest shown in cable TV, so I hope people will be patient.'' Details of programmes are still being kept secret, though there will be Chinese-language channels for news, entertainment, movies, sport, children and youth music. English-language services provided through an agreement with HutchVision, operators of STAR TV, will include the BBC World Service Channel, Prime Sports and MTV Asia. ''There has been tremendous progress in programming for the news, children's, sports and music channels,'' Mr Keefe said. The programme details are to be revealed in the next few weeks. In the meantime pilot transmissions to 5,870 homes on Hin Keng estate near the Beacon Hill transmitter start later this month. Extensive marketing will precede transmission day for each area. Sales teams will call on households able to receive the cable service, shops will sell subscriptions and there will be a massive direct mail operation to everyone within the reception area.