20 Aug 2009 07:39

Beijing to become first Chinese city to upgrade digital cable TV network

Shanghai. August 20. INTERFAX-CHINA - Beijing will be the first city in China to complete upgrading of its digital cable TV network to support interactive functions, a government official told domestic media on Aug. 19.

The upgraded network, to be completed by the end of 2012, will be two-way and be capable of transmitting interactive digital TV programming. The network will support bandwidths of up to 20 Megabits per second (Mbps) for household subscribers and 10 Gigabits per second (Gbps) for corporate subscribers, the director of the Beijing municipal government's information infrastructure office, Mao Dongjun, told domestic industry portal Sina on Aug. 19.

According to Mao, the Beijing municipal government will concurrently facilitate and promote the development of high-definition TV (HDTV) between now and 2012.

Beijing TV plans to initiate the broadcast of HDTV programming on three of its channels - BTV-1, the Entertainment Channel and the Sports Channel - during the same time frame while local digital cable TV network operator, Gehua CATV Network Co. Ltd., will initiate interactive HDTV services, according to Mao.

Currently, digital cable TV network operators in over 150 Chinese cities are in the process of upgrading their networks to support interactive functions. So far, backbone network upgrades have been completed in 20 cities, according to Michael Chang, an industry analyst with In-Stat.

According to Chang, interactive TV will continue to face challenges even after the network upgrades are completed. "Lack of both content and a clear business model will be two major obstacles hindering the development of interactive TV," Chang said.