There are no cable packages in Taiwan such as in the United States. That is, there are no “premium channels” for which you can pay separately. Its everything or nothing. The one exception is the porn channel, for whcih you do pay extra and must purchase a descrambler (the descrambler may be purchased legally through the cable company or illegally from various sources).
As the posters above noted, the cable companies frequently change some of the channels. Some are removed, new ones appear, and some switch their locations on the dial. This usually happens every six months. I have alternatively been told that it has has something to do with the earth’s rotation and its impact on satellite transmissions, or, more simply, contractual issues.
In addition, Taipei (and other parts of Taiwan) are divided into little cable feifdoms, and each company negotiates separately with distributors, and the distributors negotiate separately with the channels themselves. It’s all very typical Taiwan. This frequently leads to disputes over payments, and channels being removed. The press has reported frequently on these disputes in the last few years.
One of the reasons why these disputes arise is that the profits are so limited. HBO doesn’t get a premium fee b/c its part of the “one package fits all” model used in Taiwan, so when HBO tries to extract more money from its distributor, the distributor tries to pass this on to the operators, and the operators threaten to remove HBO. This causes outrage among the viewers, who call their legislators (either in the city legislator or the Legislative Yuan), who hold a press conference screaming about the evil foreign HBO (even though HBO isn’t at fault - its only trying to get fair compensation for its service), and then the GIO comes in and threatens to fine everyone in site, and things calm down for a while.
In my experience, the channels that alternatively seem to get kaboshed every six months are Star World and CNBC Asia. I am currently in a CNBC Asia is out, Star World is in phase, and around the first of the year I expect this to change again.