China’s Dish Police Active
Reports are emerging that Chinese authorities are cracking down on the illegal use of satellite dishes. Shanghai is a particular focus of attention. Dish-ownership is tightly controlled and so-called “work units” as well as private homes need a government-issued licence. Around 420 licenses were issued last year in Shanghai, mostly to hotels and private residences used by foreigners. Estimates vary, but official statistics cite 20,000 dishes in Shanghai, although unofficial estimates put the total at nearer 200,000.
Last week, Beijing unveiled its new digital plan for the country. A decision on which video standard will be adopted will be made next year following various tests and trials. But the plan is to have digital terrestrial coverage in place in all the main cities in time for the Beijing Olympics in 2008, including HDTV transmission for local and international distribution. An official said the current analogue system would be switched off in 2015. China’s 1.3 billion people own 230 million TV sets, receiving programmes from 1,000 mostly local TV channels.