Television Broadcasts (TVB) and Asia Television (ATV) have brought forward the deadline for selecting the technical standard for their digital services by six months to the middle of next year. The two stations are required by the government to start their terrestrial digital broadcasts in 2007 while the signal should cover more than 75 per cent of households by 2008. Originally they had said they would select a technical standard by the end of 2006 after waiting to see which one was adopted by mainland broadcasters. But yesterday, TVB general manager Cheong Shin-keong said they could not wait that long. 'In order to meet the deadline of launching the service in 2007 we will make the decision on the technical standard by mid 2006,' he said. Mr Cheong reiterated that both stations still wanted to follow the mainland's self developed standard because it would have 'economic benefits by presenting business opportunities'. However, if Beijing does not make a decision by the middle of next year, they will select the European digital video broadcasts-terrestrial standard (DVB-T). Meanwhile, the Broadcasting Authority is expected to approve the business plans for the two stations' digital broadcasting services next month after appointing an independent consultant to study their proposals last month.