The National Communications Commission is scheduled to submit two proposals to the Cabinet by April to help facilitate the switch from analog to digital for terrestrial TV services.
The government hopes to phase out analog signals by 2012.
One of the proposals will suggest that the government subsidize all viewing households in buying set-top boxes, while the other would propose that the government subsidize low-income families only.
Should the Cabinet opt for the first proposal, each household would receive a subsidy to buy one set-top box. If it chooses the second option, the government will subsidize the purchase, including the set-top boxes, cables and antennas.
The first proposal is estimated to cost the nation about NT$10.5 billion (US$300 million), while the second is expected to cost NT$200 million.
Before formulating the proposals, the commission has reviewed developments in Japan, South Korea, the US, the UK and Germany.
Japan and South Korea only subsidized low-income families. The US, on the other hand, provided each viewing household a US$40 coupon to purchase a set-top box. It withdrew analog services last June. The UK and Germany did not provide any subsidy.
Taiwan has about 7 million households with TV, including about 100,000 that are considered low-income households.
Only five TV networks offer digital broadcasting: Taiwan Television, China Television, Chinese Television Service, Formosa Television and the Public Television Service.
The commission also hoped that the government would consider providing high-definition TV services if it chooses the first proposal. The massive demand for set-top boxes will help lower the costs of the set-top boxes and make them more affordable.
It could also serve as an opportunity to develop the digital content industry, with Taiwan currently trailing behind South Korea.
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