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HK government launches Digital Television Assistance Programme

HK Government Digital Television Assistance Programme

The Government launched the Community Care Fund Digital Television Assistance Programme to help households using analogue televisions switch to digital TV.

Speaking at a press conference in the morning, Secretary for Commerce & Economic Development stated that the Government believes that there are 80,000 households still using analogue TVs.

The government intends to provide assistance to help these households in need to shift to digital TV.

The scheme will be targeting households which are lower-income or elderly families; hence, there is a need to engage a partner, so that the service can be brought to them.

HK government digital television assistance programme has secured about $450 million from the Community Care Fund and will be administered by the Hong Kong Council of Social Service.

Eligible households can choose between a set-top box, a 24-inch digital TV set or a 32-inch digital TV according to their family needs.

The electrical appliances contractor will arrange one-stop services, including delivery and installation of a digital TV receiver as well as disposal of the old analogue TV set, within eight weeks after receipt of an application, Mr Yau added.

Applications for the programme will be open until July 15 of 2021.

Digital TV Across the ASEAN

According to a report from 2015, home broadband access across the world has become more widely accessible, and cheaper.

Along with this, the number of connected households has increased, and thus consumers’ access to the internet and online video content.

4G networks by mobile operators have also become more widely available, cheaper and faster, especially unlimited data plans.

Another report noted that the ongoing shift toward fibre-to-the-premises-based fixed broadband technology by major ISPs across the Asia-Pacific region has remarkably improved broadband speed in both advanced and emerging markets.

In one study of 14 markets, estimates indicate that 49.3% of all fixed-broadband households in the region had a connection with download speed at 100 Mbps or greater, translating to 248 million as of the first half of 2018.

The report shows a significant gap, however, still exists between markets in terms of the percentage of broadband speed at or greater than 100 Mbps.

Singapore leads the regional charge with 92.6% as of June 2018, despite the city-state being the smallest market among all surveyed countries.

South Korea and Japan follow suit with 90.9% and 90.0%, respectively, while Hong Kong comes fourth at 82.6%.

In September 2019, OpenGov Asia reported The Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) of Malaysia announced that the nation’s transition from analogue TV to its digital service (myFreeview Digital TV) made a complete switch to digital TV on 31 October 2019.

Malaysia is the third country in the ASEAN region to progress from analogue broadcasting after Brunei Darussalam in 2017 and Singapore in January 2019.

The HKSAR government portal for the digital TV service states that Full digital TV broadcast will be implemented in Hong Kong from 1 December 2020.

The Community Care Fund Digital Television Assistance Programme aims to subsidise analogue TV households with financial needs to obtain digital TV receivers (e.g. digital TV set or set-top box) so that they can continue to access free TV programmes after full digital TV broadcast.

It appears the future of TV is online, with a large majority watching on mobile devices. It is expected that customers across the APAC region will see more personalised options likely with greater subscription options (ad-funded subscription, ad-free subscription, transactional and sponsored content). Overall, Hong Kong seems to be ready for the switch.

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