Friday, June 4, 2010

Philippine Star: PLDT eyes Japanese technology for digital TV

MANILA, Philippines - Telecommunications leader Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co. (PLDT) is favoring the use of Japanese technology as platform for its digital television venture, a top company official said.
“ISDB-T is a good technology,” PLDT unit Mediaquest Holdings president Ray Espinosa said, adding that this Japanese platform is cheaper than those from other countries.
He said PLDT is inclined to adopting Japan’s integrated services digital broadcasting technology (ISDB-T) over Europe’s digital video broadcast technology for PLDT-owned Associated Broadcasting Corp. (TV5) as well as for the possible rollout of mobile TV by Mediaquest.
But he stressed that the PLDT Group’s shift to Japanese standard has nothing to do with the suspension of operations of MyTV, which used the European digital TV platform.
MyTV’s suspension was due to non-renewal by the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) of the free trial permit earlier given to a unit of Mediaquest.
Commission on Information and Communications Technology (CICT) chairman Ray Anthony Roxas Chua earlier said the initial deadline of 2015 for the country’s transition from analog TV to digital TV might be difficult to achieve. “It might have to be moved,” he added.
Digital TV uses a more efficient transmission technology that allows TV stations to offer improved picture and sound quality, as well as offer more programming options through multiple digital sub-channels (multicasting).
The country is still torn between the European and Japanese standards after representatives from both continuously offered varying price quotes and assistance to the government, making it harder for CICT to choose its preferred platform.
DVB-T, which was introduced in 1998, is the digital platform used in 121 countries, including France, India and Taiwan. ISDB-T, launched in 2003, is in use in Japan, Brazil and Peru.
DVB-T offered set-top boxes that cost between $13 and $14 per unit, while ISDB-T quoted a factory price of $12 from the last year’s offer of around $40 to $50.
Leading broadcast companies ABS-CBN Broadcasting Corp. and GMA Network Inc. have earlier said they are leaning towards the Japanese standard after its proponents have lowered the price of set-top boxes.
In the United States, full-power analog TV broadcasts were required by law to end in 2009. But since March 1, 2007, all new television devices that receive signals over-the-air, including pocket-sized portable televisions, personal computer video capture card tuners and DVD recorders, have been required to include digital ATSC tuners. - Mary Ann Ll. Reyes, dated 4 June 2010, 12:00 AM.
Source: Philippine Star

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