SINGAPORE: HDTV channels to be launched here next year
StarHub, MediaCorp to broadcast high-definition television programs next year
Thursday, November 30, 2006
By Lee Sze Yong
Couch potatoes may want to add a wide-screen television set to their Christmas shopping list.
They will come in handy next year, when high-definition (HD) TV programmes will be broadcast by cable provider StarHub and terrestrial broadcaster MediaCorp.
StarHub will launch two HD English channels by May next year.
MediaCorp has yet to decide on whether to launch a new channel or include HD shows on existing channels.
Both broadcasters declined to elaborate further, as details on matters like pricing and programming are still being finalised.
The moves were announced by Dr Lee Boon Yang, Minister for Information, Communications and the Arts, at the opening ceremony of the annual Asia Media Festival at the Shangri-La Hotel yesterday.
The event boasts trade conferences, forums and award ceremonies.
HDTV offers images four times clearer than the existing Standard Definition TV images. Programmes also come with surround sound.
Receiving such shows will require HD-ready TVs, as well as set-top boxes from the broadcaster.
The move to offer HD programming here has been long-awaited. Countries such as the United States, Britain and China began such broadcasts as early as 1996.
By contrast, Singapore's foray into HD began only in June this year, when StarHub and MediaCorp started trials to test transmission technology and audience reception.
StarHub's trials, involving some 1,000 households, will wrap up at year-end. MediaCorp's trials, involving 800 households, will end in March next year.
The Media Development Authority (MDA) has commissioned local producers to create some 30 hours of HD programming, which will be completed by the end of the year, for MediaCorp's trials.
Other HD initiatives are also afoot.
The MDA is collaborating with the Korean Broadcasting Institute, its South Korean counterpart, to co-finance three HD projects by Singapore and Korean producers for international distribution in the third quarter of 2007.
Meanwhile, local content management company Mega Media and Indonesia's Omnicron Asia signed a memorandum of understanding to set up a US$3 million (S$4.8 million) fund to produce 10 HD films in Bahasa Indonesia in the next two years.
More deals between Singapore media companies and their international counterparts are likely to be struck before the festival ends tomorrow.
Date Posted: 11/30/2006