All Shenzhen Cable TV channels run through Topway, with basic plans starting at 28rmb a month. This will give you 2 English channels and all the CCTV and Shenzhen TV channels. As a foreigner, this is provides a rather limited selection of English programs. Visit your local Topway store and choose an upgrade package. Packages start from as little as 100RMB extra per month, which provides HBO, MTV, Cinemax, etc. If you want CNN, NBC, etc, expect to pay additional premiums. Phone: 96933 (Chinese only)
Since about 2006, Shenzhen has digital television throughout the city. This means you need a special box below your TV to convert the digital signal into something your TV can understand. The TV network is built by Shenzhen Media Group who owns Shenzhen TV stations, broadcasting stations, movie factory etc. SZ media group also owns Topway, the company that you as end user will buy the TV subscription from. This article explains how to get a TV subscription and also dives a bit into censorship of the (English) TV channels.
Topway offers both TV and Internet servies via the cable, and you can apply for it via their website: www.topway.com.cn, call the hotline 96933, or go to one of the sales points in the city.
Costs for SD and HD TV
The setop box cost 360 yuan, but you still need a smart card which cost 60 extra. Unless you want to install it yourself, you will also need to pay the installation fee of 100 yuan. If you want to add additional TVs, you pay the reduced installation fee of 50yuan for those additional TVs. So the total for one TV is 520yuan and for any additional TV 470yuan.
The SD subscription costs 28yuan per month which includes about 80 channels. There are 4 channels from Hong Kong: two English and two Cantonese channels. All the others are mainland Chinese program. For example, all CCTV channels, all local Shenzhen channels, and provincial channels. Besides TV you also have radio, news, weather forecast and living information on the digital channel that is accessible by pressing a special button on your remote control.
Topway also offer HDTV, the box cost 1000yuan, but you can also rent it for 15 yuan per month. Once you bought the special HD box you get 10 free HD channels besides the regular channels. All these HD channels are Chinese: for example CCTV HD, Shenzhen TV HD etc.
If you want more channels, especially some English channels, you need to buy these separately from the basic subscription. This page lists the prices. For example BBC World(25), CNN(25), HBO(50), Cinemax(20), Discovery(20), NGC(20), CNBC(25), TV5(50), ESPN+Eurosport(30). Often it’s cheaper not to buy one particular channel, but to buy a packages which includes several channels at a reduced price. These packages are listed on this page . For example CNN + BBC World + CNBC and some others costs in total 75Y/month.