Hong Kong (HKSAR) - Hong Kong's digital audio broadcasting (DAB) service is set to be further enhanced to enable more listeners to enjoy a brand new listening experience, with the transmission network coming into full operation.
The Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development, Mr Gregory So, speaking at the DAB transmission network launch ceremony today (June 19), said, "For the four public and commercial DAB operators to complete the construction of all major transmission stations of the transmission network, soon after the launch of DAB service, is an achievement indeed."
Hong Kong's DAB transmission network comprises seven transmission stations located at Beacon Hill, Golden Hill, Cloudy Hill, Kowloon Peak, Castle Peak, Mount Gough and Lamma Island, and related construction works were completed earlier. With the transmission network launched, the geographical coverage of the DAB service now stands at around 70 per cent, covering most of Hong Kong Island and the Kowloon peninsula, while reception in individual areas in the New Territories may vary. Reception in some individual areas may not be completely stable due to the effects of terrain.
Such an issue is unavoidable at the initial stage of network development.
"Apart from the completion of the seven transmission stations, the four operators are planning to build gap-filler stations. Four gap-filler stations will be completed in phases from the end of this year to early next year, further expanding the signal coverage," said Mr So.
"Recently, there have been views that the Government should increase the transmission power so as to improve reception.
I wish to take this opportunity to clarify that the Office of the Communications Authority has already given approval for the DAB operators to increase the transmission power. We cannot increase the transmission power indefinitely, since excessive transmission power will interfere with television broadcasting services in the Mainland and necessitate co-ordination. More importantly, the present reception problems are mainly due to obstruction by terrain and buildings.
Further increase in transmission power may not be a suitable solution, and the construction of gap-fillers will be more effective.
"DAB is an advanced broadcasting technology. Digitalisation of the broadcasting service is also the dominant trend. With the launch of digital radio channels in phases, the new DAB service, which provides 'quality sound, quality visuals and quality choices', should be well-received by the audience."
Digital Broadcasting Corporation Hong Kong Limited (DBC), Metro Broadcast Corporation Limited (Metro), Phoenix U Radio Limited (Phoenix U), and Radio Television Hong Kong (RTHK) will provide a total of 18 DAB channels (three each for Metro and Phoenix U, seven for DBC and five for RTHK), offering a wide variety of programme choices covering music, lifestyle, current affairs, finance, community and art and culture.
So far, 13 channels have been formally launched or soft launched.
Compared with analogue radio services, DAB provides better sound quality, more stable reception and a greater diversity of programmes. It also supports the transmission of digital images (ancillary visual service) to the screens of DAB receivers.
With suitable digital radios, listeners will be able to view news, weather and traffic information, and information about songs on the radio screen.
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