The National Communications Commission (NCC) yesterday approved applications from the four terrestrial television networks to broadcast the Olympic Games on four new high-definition (HD) channels.
The four are Taiwan Television, China Television, Chinese Television Service and Formosa Television. Each has three standard-definition (SD) channels. The approval allows each to broadcast a new HD channel.
Acting commission spokesperson Wong Po-tsung (翁柏宗) said HD channels would allow the networks to broadcast the Olympic Games all day from July 28 to Aug. 13, adding that the HD channels would not be used to air programs after the Olympics ended.
“They [the networks] were able to secure the licenses for these four HD channels because of special permission from the commission to temporarily change their operational plans for the Olympic Games,” Wong said. “After the games are over, they should still operate by their original operational plans, which do not include HD channels.”
Huang Chin-yi (黃金益), deputy director of the commission’s operational administration, said the commission told the networks they must clearly inform their audiences about which events they would be able to see on the HD channel, as well as when that these events would be broadcast.
The commission also agreed to allow the networks a trial broadcast period on the HD channel before the Olympic Games begin.
Based on the plans submitted by the four networks, two SD channels of each network will broadcast eight hours of Olympic events daily. The HD channel and the other SD channel will broadcast the Olympic Games all day.
As to the dispute between ELTA TV and cable TV operators, Wong said the commission would not intervene in business disputes.
ELTA TV secured the exclusive broadcasting right for the Olympics in Taiwan. As the official agent of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) in Taiwan, it agreed to allow four terrestrial TV networks and Public Television Service to broadcast the Olympics.
Controversy arose when the four networks struck a deal with cable TV operators that HD channels would be included in cable services, which would allow HD Olympic events to be seen on cable. Cable operators then made this a selling point to encourage people to install set-top boxes that can convert analogue signals to digital signals.
ELTA TV has refused to authorize cable TV operators to broadcast the Games.