[photopress:digitaltv.jpg,full,alignright]The national terrestrial digital TV standard, code-named GB 20600-2006, was announced on August 30 and will become mandatory for Chinese broadcasters on August 1, 2007. That positive date tells TV set manufacturers when they need to start mass-producing digital TV sets.
Digital television looks better than analog television. Not by a dramatic amount — but enough. It also makes moving forward to even higher definition easier because its compressed signals take up less of the available bandwidth. You get better quality and more channels. So the future is digital. No argument.
This terrestrial digital TV standard will help make digital TV a RMB500 billion yuan ($62.5 billion) business in China in 2015. Which is more than 10 times the amount of digital business in 2002.
The estimate of the China digital TV industry association (which will be a biased prediction) is that there will be 230 million digital TV users in China in five years from now, with a yearly increase of 70 percent. These figures are not out of bounds because, yes, of the 2008 Beijing Olympics. The Olympics will look better on digital television than it will on analog.
To get an idea of the difference you need to think of any color movie made over 20 years ago currently being shown on television — analog or digital — compared to the quality that is accepted as standard now.
The new standard has been enthusiastically taken up by the industry. Three big TV set manufacturers released digital TV sets that meet the new standard as soon as it was launched. Other factories are following suit.
Will there be 230 million digital television users in China five years from now? More than probably.