Around 80,000 low-income households across Hong Kong are being offered free digital televisions as the government prepares to switch off all of the city's analogue channels.
The administration says a recent survey suggests about 92 percent of homes have already switched to digital TV. But around 100,000 households still have analogue TV sets and their screens will go blank by December.
Commerce and Economic Development Secretary Edward Yau said on Tuesday that the free televisions will be provided under a HK$450 million Community Care Fund scheme to be implemented by the Hong Kong Council of Social Service.
Hong Kong Telecom will be responsible for the delivery, installation and maintenance of the new TVs.
Chua Hoi-wai, chief executive of the Hong Kong Council of Social Service, said current recipients of several government welfare schemes are eligible for the programme – CSSA, Old Age Living Allowance Scheme, Working Family Allowance Scheme, families who receive healthcare or means-tested student subsidies, and those who earn less than 75 percent of the median monthly household income.
Applicants can choose to have a 24-inch or 32-inch digital TV, or a set-top box which receives digital signals if they prefer to keep their old televisions.
Chua said the first batch of new TVs will be sent out after the Lunar New Year holiday, with the service to run until July 15 next year.
Applications are already being accepted at 100 community centres or by post.