6MHz HDTV services launched on DVB-T network in Taiwan

20 May 2008

A terrestrial HDTV service is now on air, on a trial basis initially, in both Taipei and Kaohsiung, the major cities of Taiwan. The service, named HiHD, represents the latest deployment of HDTV using DVB-T, following in the footsteps of Australia, Singapore, Norway, and others. Taiwan is the first country using 6MHz channel bandwidths to launch HD services using DVB-T – the service is available from broadcaster PTS on 566-572MHz.

In common with Singapore and Norway, the service in Taiwan uses MPEG-4/H.264 video compression. Following discussions involving representatives of industry and government, it was decided to adopt 1920×1080/60i picture format.

Consumers will be able to purchase backwards compatible receivers, that can also receive a range of MPEG-2 standard definition services.

The service will carry drama, documentary, music & infotainment, arts, and sports events, including the Beijing Olympics. A new four hour schedule is broadcast from 20h00 to midnight each day, with the same programming repeated throughout the rest of the day.

The trial, which begins in the metropolitan areas of the North and South of the island, will be evaluated by a government committee. On the basis of viewer satisfaction levels and test results for indoor reception, a decision will be taken on how to implement the second phase, bringing transmissions to the West Coast, and later the East Coast.