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High-def TV gains ground in China

World Cup coverage a success for channel

Pay TV operators are optimistic about high-definition TV in China and the region.

Tao Li Bao, executive director of programming and scheduling at the state-run CCTV HD Channel, China’s first high-def web, said coverage of summer’s World Cup soccer tourney had been a success for the channel and that sports would drive HD in the buildup to the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

Ownership of HDTV sets in China is low but returns are high, Tao said, speaking at the Cable and Satellite Broadcasting Assn. of Asia Conven-tion in Hong Kong this week. Sub-scribers pay $15 a month for his channel, six times the price of a regular pay TV package. But with prices of HDTV sets falling, he said rates may come down too.

Pacific Century Cyber Works is conducting an HDTV trial in Hong Kong, where take-up of TVs is strong even though there are no commercial HDTV services.

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