Under the Broadcasting Ordinance, there are four categories of television programme services — domestic free, domestic pay, non-domestic (mainly satellite television services for the region) and other licensable television programme services (mainly television service for hotel rooms).
Radio Television Hong Kong (RTHK): RTHK’s television programmes are broadcast on free-to-air and pay television channels. It has a reputation for producing quality programmes and plays an important role as a broadcaster of essential public information. News and event podcasts, information on programming and live broadcasts can be found on the RTHK website. It is also possible to listen to radio online – including the BBC World Service.
There are two local, free, English-language television operators. Both televise local and international news, children’s programming, movies, comedies and current affairs and lifestyle shows. Most of the movies and programmes are from the USA, the UK and Australia.
- Hong Kong Television Broadcasts Limited (TVB): TVB operates one English-language and one Chinese-language channel. Many popular movies and UK and US drama series (such as Hotel Babylon and The West Wing) are shown on Pearl, the English-language channel
- Asia Television Limited (ATV): ATV is a private terrestrial channel, operating just two channels – the 22-hour World channel broadcasts mostly in English, the other channel is in Cantonese
Satellite and other channels
- now TV: Owned by PCCW, now TV offers a variety of channels broadcasting news, sports, entertainment, children’s programmes and movies. The station works on a pay-per-channel basis with subscribers using their PIN number to buy programmes. Programmes vary in content and language but there are plenty of channels in English including movies and drama, sport and news and music and entertainment. Customers pick and choose from a list of channels in either a la carte format or in bundle packages. They are charged a monthly subscription fee
- i-Cable: Owned by Cable TV Hong Kong, i-Cable offers subscribers over 100 channels featuring a range of programmes. Its sports channels are particularly popular. Subscription is via fixed-price packages. Some of the English-language channels available are the same as now TV’s and include CNN, BBC World, CNBC, HBO, Cinemax and others
- STAR TV: Transmits a number of channels in a variety of languages. Star Movies showcases English-language movies and STAR World provides English-language entertainment programming