MediaCorp to launch HD channel

50% of households can receive signal

HONG KONG — Singapore’s MediaCorp will launch a high-definition terrestrial TV channel in the last quarter of this year.

Company has been assessing the service since June and says that 50% of households will be able to receive the HD signal.

Until the launch, households with HD-ready equipment will be able to watch HD5, a high-definition simulcast of MediaCorp’s existing Channel 5. Company aims to switch all viewers to HD by 2012.

MediaCorp’s move ups the ante in the race between Singapore’s broadcast platforms. StarHub, which operates Cable Vision, the country’s dominant digital cable network, in January unwrapped its HD Plus service. SingTel, which runs broadband Internet, started trials of Internet Protocol TV and said that it would include high-definition pay TV content from partners, including MediaCorp Studios and MegaMedia, via broadband through PC or set-top-box.

The government has encouraged local producers to make HD programming through its Media Development Authority offshoot. About 100 hours of local HD content was completed last year, according to Information, Communications and Arts minister Dr. Lee Boon-yang.

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