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     FrontPage Edition: Fri 2 June 2006

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High Definition Television trials start in June 2006

Source: www.mda.gov.sg

Singapore Gears up for High Definition Television
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Singapore is set to welcome the arrival of High Definition Television (HDTV) with the start of trials in June and a series of publicity initiatives and consumer activities to educate the public on the benefits of HDTV.
This is part of the efforts by the Media Development Authority of Singapore (MDA) to speed up the deployment and adoption of HD technology nationwide as the media and entertainment industry shifts to digital technology.
HD is the top digital standard in the broadcast and display of premium quality TV programmes. It provides an almost cinematic experience with sharper, clearer and more life-like pictures and enhanced sound.
¡°The MDA is actively working with industry players to provide quality HD content and services on multiple media platforms in Singapore. The trials are an important step in bringing a superior media experience to Singapore whilst allowing service providers to explore viable business opportunities as they harness HD technology to provide consumers with wider choices and better quality services. HDTV technology also presents us with tremendous potential to position Singapore at the forefront of the media sector, both in the region and globally,¡± said Dr Christopher Chia, MDA¡¯s Chief Executive Officer.
Come June 2006, StarHub and MediaCorp will roll out the first HDTV trials in Singapore via their digital cable and terrestrial platforms respectively. This makes Singapore the first country in Southeast Asia to conduct such HDTV trials.
StarHub is the official broadcaster of the 2006 FIFA World CupTM in Singapore and has acquired the telecast rights of all 64 World Cup matches. From 10 June to 10 July 2006, 1,000 StarHub¡¯s HDTV trial participants can enjoy 64 ¡®live¡¯ World Cup matches in high definition format.
Fifty-six of these matches will be telecast on Channel 300, and the remaining eight simulcast matches will be carried on the supplementary HDTV trial channel, Channel 301. After the World Cup season, participants of StarHub¡¯s HDTV trial will enjoy up to two channels of HD content on genres such as documentaries and entertainment.
"StarHub is glad to be working with MDA to be the first in Southeast Asia to offer a public HDTV trial. We have timed the launch of our trial to coincide with the much-anticipated World Cup, so that StarHub's World Cup customers will be the first in Singapore to enjoy the crystal clear video quality, cinematic sound effect and catch more of the action on the pitch with a wider screen," said Mr Yong Lum Sung, Chief Operating Officer, StarHub.
StarHub has invited its residential cable TV subscribers to take part in the trial. Trial participants must have a current cable TV subscription including the 2006 FIFA World Cup Pay-Per-ViewTM package, use a digital set-top box and own a HD-ready TV set.
In addition, some commercial outlets will also be taking part in this trial. These outlets are those connected to StarHub's cable network and subscribing to StarHub's World Cup package.
MediaCorp will launch its HDTV trial on 18 June 2006 over its new terrestrial Channel 38, with the Hollywood blockbuster, The Lord of The Rings: The Two Towers.
During its six-month trial covering 1,000 households, 10 community clubs and retail outlets, an average of 14 hours of HD content per week will be telecast during primetime hours of 7 pm and 11 pm. These will comprise locally produced and acquired programmes, as well as simulcasts of Channel 5 programmes which will be upconverted to HD format.
Said Mr Chang Long Jong, MediaCorp Deputy Group Chief Executive Officer (Television), ¡°We are proud to be working with the MDA to be the first in Southeast Asia to launch a HDTV terrestrial trial. We look forward to the trial as an important step for us to offer a better viewing experience for Singaporeans as well as a chance to explore new business opportunities,¡±
¡°As the media industry makes the transition to digital technology, MediaCorp will also be investing in new equipment and upgrading skills to produce our popular local shows in HD.¡±
Getting Singapore ready for HDTV
To prepare for the arrival of HDTV and educate Singaporeans on its benefits, the MDA is organising a series of activities in collaboration with partners to reach out to the local community. Members of the public can find out more about HD technology, events, and the types of HD-ready equipment available in the market on the website, www.hdtv-trial.sg.
In addition, an informational pamphlet on HDTV was specially produced as handy reference guides for the public. These pamphlets are available at partnering manufacturers¡¯ and retailers¡¯ outlets as well as libraries and Community Clubs/Centres. The pamphlet is also available at www.hdtv-trial.sg
Complementing information provided on the website and pamphlet, MDA, with industry partners Mega Media and Dream Forest, has co-produced HDTV educational videos to explain the benefits of HDTV. Shot in HD format, the two videos will be used and showcased at upcoming HDTV exhibitions, roadshows, showcases and seminars.
A HDTV seminar aimed at ensuring sales staff are prepared to answer questions that consumers may have on HDTV, was held on 10 May 2006. This was in collaboration with the Singapore Retailers Association (SRA), Digital Media Academy (DMA), and Mega Media Technologies. This seminar was attended by some 50 sales personals.
From June till December, the MDA will be setting up HDTV showcases at selected libraries, Community Clubs/Centres and the Singapore Changi Airport Terminals One and Two, to bring the HDTV experience closer to the masses. See Calendar of Events in Annex A*.
Trials and outreach programmes aside, the MDA has also encouraged local producers to come forward with compelling ideas for more quality Made-by-Singapore programmes to be shot in HD format. MDA had already partnered with producers like Bang Productions, Mega Media and One Take Production to produce such HD programmes, and is continually working with local producers to produce more HD programmes.
Under the partnership with Mega Media and New York-based Rainbow HD Holdings announced last year at MIPCOM, about US$20 million worth of HD programmes are being produced for first airing on Rainbow HD¡¯s VOOM HD Networks, the world¡¯s largest and most diverse suite of HD channels.
Infinite Frameworks, Singapore's leading post-production company, has acquired a Millenium II telecine that will enable content such as short films, feature films, and documentaries to be scanned from a film source to a HD mastering format.

Source: www.mda.gov.sg News Release 31 May 2006

* There was no Annex A at the end of the Media Release.

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