Shanghai tests HDTV channel

Wireless gets big-city trial

SHANGHAI -- One of China's largest cities has launched a free wireless television service on 18 new digital channels, including one high definition channel operated by China Central Television, industry officials told local media late Monday.

The CCTV content on the one HD channel launched June 9 -- including European Cup soccer matches -- appears four times clearer than DVD quality images, the head of a local industry association said.

"Sports and big events will be HD TV services' major attractions for Chinese users, especially the Beijing Olympics content," Wang Changsong, secretary general of the Shanghai Information Household Appliance Association told reporters. "The popularity of big-screen LCD TVs in China will boost the demand."

At the same time, the Shanghai Media Group launched 17 standard definition channels under the new trial, reports said.

CCTV and Beijing TV launched similar trials in the capital in January and May, respectively.
CCTV and SMG could not be reached for comment.

Viewers wishing to try the new services must buy televisions able to handle the signals, or buy special receivers to decode the channels, Wang said.

Sony and Toshiba sell television sets with built-in receivers and separate receives cost up to 2,000 yuan ($285).

In a city of nearly more than 18 million people, most Shanghai residents who watch television watch via cable subscriptions that offer 50 channels or more.

According to the association's data, there were about 480,000 digital cable subscribers in Shanghai as of May, with that number predicted to reach 800,000 by the end of the year.