Starting at noon tomorrow, people in central Taiwan will no longer be able to receive the five free-to-air television channels — Taiwan TV (台視), China TV (中視), Chinese TV System (華視), Formosa TV (民視) and Public TV Service (公視) — without equipment capable of receiving a digital signal.
The National Communications Commission will switch off the analog signal for terrestrial TV stations covering central Taiwan and switch to a digital service as part of its efforts to ensure the nation embraces a new age of digital television.
Areas affected will include Siangshan District (香山) in Hsinchu City and Emei Township (峨眉) in Hsinchu County, Miaoli County, Greater Taichung, Changhua County, Nantou County, Yunlin County, Chiayi City, as well as some townships in Chiayi County.
This is the first of four stages in the transition from an analog terrestrial TV network to a nationwide digital service. It will be followed on May 28 by eastern areas and outlying islands; on June 11 by southern areas and on June 30 by northern areas.
Government Information Office (GIO) Minister Philip Yang (楊永明) said people would need to either buy set-top converter boxes or a TV sets able to receive digital signals.
Information on how to make sure homes are digital system compatible is available at consumer electronics retail chains, -including E-Life mall, Tatung 3C, Tsann Kuen, Carrefour and RT-mart.
Consumers can also visit or call one of the commission’s technical service stations, Yang said.
The commission has established technical service stations in Taipei, Greater Taichung and Greater Kaohsiung to provide help with subsidies, installation and customer complaints.
Taiwan TV, China TV, Chinese TV System, Formosa TV, Public TV Service, and other terrestrial Television companies already offer digital channels, but their content is still mostly in analog format Yang said, adding that the NCC has asked the companies to increase the ratio of digital programming so as to heighten the quality of content on offer.
The government’s goal is to lift the digital cable television service penetration rate to 100 percent by 2014, although the current level is only about 10 percent.