Now Hong Kong getting hi-def TV

Company using soccer to grab viewers

HONG KONG — Now TV on Thursday will unveil Hong Kong’s first high-definition broadcast channels when it launches Now Sports.

Company, which is part of tycoon Richard Li’s PCCW phones-to-broadband-Internet conglom, will use English Premier League and Barclays Asia Trophy soccer to attract viewers to the premium price channels.

Service is believed to be the world’s first commercial HD operation using Internet Protocol TV standards. In addition to having a compatible TV set and a Now TV decoder, subscribers will have to upgrade their broadband connections to access the 11 megabytes-per-second feed.

PCCW, which aims to have HDTV coverage available to 1.6 million homes, is also readying other channels. In March it signed a carriage deal with Rainbow Media’s Voom HD (Daily Variety, March 23.)

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