Foreign language digital channels

An article I wrote for the Taipei Times on January 15 dealt with the subject of new foreign-language digital channels in Taiwan. … /15/191099

Due to space restrictions in the printed paper, the list of cable companies that will offer the service was not included. I am posting this list below for your information.

Eastern Multimedia Company
13 Majority Owned System Operators

Taipei City

  1. Yangmingshan (

Thanks for that Bill. I will be making enquiries about getting the service after CNY. To help with the phonecall how do you say this service in Chinese?

Hm, Deutsche Welle - most boring. Anyhow, note that the more channels they squezze into the same bandwith will happen at the cost of quality. Unfortunately that is what most digital cable TV operators do - quantity instead of quality. :frowning:

Thanks for your PM Bill.

So basically you pay 5000 bucks for 6 new not-so-exciting channels? Doesn’t sound like such a good deal…unless they start to offer more channels in the near future…does anybody know what new channels they plan to offer in the near future?

Also, just to make sure, you spend a one time fee of 5000 for the box and you’re set for life? When they add new channels in the future you can get them for free as well?

How does these affect the the channels that you originally get? I’m assuming you won’t lose any of your other channels by installing the box?

Finally, are these boxes the same ones you use to decode , uh, the adult stuff?

Set for life? Normally they charge a monthly fee for providing this service. You can expect that additional services like email, i-net or whatever they may offer in future (video on demand?) will cost extra.

It’s not clear from the article whether the digibox will provide all the usual crappy channels as well as the new ones, or whether the existing channels will also be broadcast digitally, with the increased quality that would give.

I don’t quite understand the point made above that bandwidth restrictions will reduce quality. I have had digital cable in the UK with over 200 video channels, and digital satellite (Sky) with over 300 video channels and they were both splendid Hi-fi and pin-sharp full widescreen quality. Rascal do you know something about how this will be done that we don’t ? I was kind of hoping we’d be getting something along the lines of Sky Digital in the UK.

Any seguer going to experiment with this?

Let’s know the results.


I get most all of these and much much more. But it costs $$, see my many posts here in the thread regarding satellite TV,

Hexuan, I had digital satellite TV in Malaysia and the quality was sometimes down to VCD quality, colors were lost or pixelation did occur - expecially after they started squezzing more and more services into the (limited) bandwith.
It all depends on the numbers of transponders in the satellite though, once used up you can’t go up there and add more capacity. The only option to add channels is to reduce the datastream - and that will happen at the cost of quality.

Usually the provider is not the operator of the satellite, thus they need to rent the transponders and they aren’t cheap. So to offer more choice without increasing cost too much they opt for data reducation instead of renting more transponders.

Digital TV can be great and deliver a far better quality then what we are used to, but as most things it has a price tag associated with it.
Maybe in the UK the subscriber base and monthly fee allowed for sufficient transponders, but from my friend who works for the broadcaster in Malaysia I know that they had to have this limitations due to the high operational costs involved.

I am worried that this will become another quantity instead of quality issue though partially the subscribers are too blame if they accept that (like a lot of people have a DVD player but watch VCD on it or buy/rent cheap DVDs instead of better quality originals) …

Also digital signals have to follow natural laws, so in a frequency band/channel with a certain width you can transfer data with a certain speed (“bandwidth”). While you could only send one analogue signal on such a channel, you could send a few digital ones because you can mix their bits into one stream. However, if you want more signals (a signal here equalling a tv station) sent, you need to reduce the “bandwidth” (bitrate) of each signal.
You can simulate this at home with your computer: Connect a harddisk (with a few MPEG video files, ideally grouped according to their bitrate) through USB1.1 (can’t exceed 12Mbit, this would be your “bandwidth”) to your computer. Play a video file in an endless loop. Start the second, the third (all looping)…
When some of the videos start to “stutter” you reached the maximum bandwidth. (Meaning, the bitrate received is not sufficient to enable a steady decoding process - finally we still need analogue input for our eyes and ears.) If you can’t increase the bandwidth, the only other way is to reduce the bitrate of your videostreams. What happens then you can reproduce at home with “Virtualdub” and “DivX” (both free of charge), encoding any piece of video at various bitrates. What you can see there is what will probably happen here in Taiwan - after all, already now they even take out stereo and SAP on many channels in some areas, just to save a few NT$…

Great news about being able to get the BBC – worth a large fee for that alone, though I doubt I’d ever want to watch any of the other channels that were mentioned.

However, those two splendid technical explanations (thank you, Rascal and dl7und) inevitably leave me with huge misgivings on what to expect in the way of quality, as we all know very well that they will pare their costs to the minimum no matter what.

For comparison purposes Sky Digital (satellite) in the UK is about GBP100 for the box, and around GBP50 a month for the entire package including all movies and sports. That is my recollection - I’m sure they have a website.

As I remember it NTL (cable) had less channels, and pixellation did sometimes occur. Perhaps they too were squeezing too much down the pipe. The quality on Sky was super though.

That’s quite pricey – the box is okay at NT$5600, but the monthly fee is rather steep at NT$2800. We’ll certainly be getting it a lot cheaper here. But I have no doubt that the lower price will be fully reflected in the poorer choice and quality of channels.

The quality on Sky was super though.

For that price I would expect it to be. :wink:

Over a year later and it still hasn’t happened. It was a nice idea. I’d have got my wallet out, but alas, it was not to be.

Any news at all on this ?

I hear that China Telecom is going to introduce this kind of digital TV service to ADSL customers in Taipei. I am not sure how much English will be available but they say that it will be cheap.

I could be wrong, I often am.

Top rated international channels including STAR World, CNN, BBC World, TV5, DW and Playboy now available!

Digital International Channel Package
Call Customer Service 2173-2501

Star World For audiences across Asia, Star World is the first choice for top-rated entertainment from action and drama to comedies, talk shows, children’s programming and live international events.

BBC World Offers global news highlights and headlines 24 hours a day.

CNN CNN is the world’s leading global 24-hour news network.

TV5 The world’s leading French channel. News every hour and entertainment programs.

DW The No.1 German channel. News, documentary and infotainment programs. The source for news and information from Germany and Europe - 24 hours a day.

Adult Channel
Playboy No.1 Adult Channel from The U.S.

Education Channel
Da-Ai .TV A Buddhist channel, Da-Ai Television is funded by The Tzu-Chi Compassionate Foundation.

Digital Movie Theater
Digitized Movie Channels HBO、Cinemax、STAR Movies、STAR Chinese

Digital Music
Digital music channels Including US Pop、US Countdown、US Love Songs、Jazz Vocals、Jazz Music、Classical Music、Latin Dance Music、Piano Music、Taiwanese Pop etc.

Interactive Service
IPG Channel Line-up, Schedule, Favorite Channels, Genre, Parental Lock, Reserve Programs
Instant Info. News, Weather, Traffic, Government Info.

(Services are subject to change)

Price (For Taipei City Only)

  • Customers should subscribe to basic cable first before applying for digital cable TV.

Digital STB Deposit NTD 525 (refundable)
Monthly Fee NTD 300
Or Yearly Payment NTD 3600

For Taipei City Only,
Not all the cable systems provide digital cable TV service.
Customers should subscribe to basic cable first before applying to digital cable TV.
If the cable system you subscribe to provides digital cable TV service, a customer representative will contact you within one week for installation.

Does anyone use this service yet that TNT was talking about? I just called and they told me that their service doesn’t yet reach all the way to Sijhih, but nevermind, I already have SAT TV service, but this sounds like it might be a higher quality signal. My SAT TV signal is so so.

Depends on where you are … apparently it seems the digital provider has a deal with the local operator to run the digital signal on the same network. Depending on who they made the deal with then you may have it in your area… it seems local to Taipei City

I phoned them myself and the guy asked to know who my cable provider was so to check…