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Satellite TV for 200 million rural families in China

Monday 05 Sep 2011
Direct-broadcast satellite (DBS), a special satellite TV service, will replace wireless signals for about 200 million rural families in China by 2015, China Daily reports.

A pilot project has progressed smoothly in Ningxia, Hebei and Inner Mongolia of north and northwest China since it started in April, said Zhang Haitao, deputy director of the State Administration of Radio, Film and Television (SARFT) in a recent interview with Xinhua.

About 200 million rural households in China mainly rely on wireless signals to receive broadcast and analogue TV programmes, with which they can only receive at most six channels with poor image quality.

With the DBS service, rural families will be able to enjoy high-quality programmes on more than 25 TV channels, 17 radio programmes, and receive radio emergency warnings, Mr Zhang said.

DBS signals are received through a set-top box from a special satellite. Rural families need to buy the set-top boxes, but the government will provide financial assistance, Mr Zhang said.

DBS service providers and home-appliance manufacturers engaged in the programme have also worked out packages for rural families.

“The programme will help reduce the digital gap between rural and urban areas,” Mr Zhang said.

China now has 189 million families receiving cable TV service, but most are in cities. Over the past decade, the government has been working to extend wireless radio and TV coverage to every village with electricity. So far, villages with more than 20 households have been covered.

SARFT plans to cover 10 million households with DBS service this year, he said.