Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Inquirer: NTC slammed over digital TV decision

MANILA, Philippines—The National Telecommunications Commission’s last-minute decision in choosing Japanese DTV standards for use in the Philippines has raised the eyebrows of several broadcast-sector stakeholders.
Last June, just three weeks before the end of the Arroyo administration, the commission decided that the best system for the Philippines would be the Integrated Services Digital Broadcasting digital terrestrial television standard, a broadcast platform developed in Japan.
This beat the Digital Video Broadcasting platform developed in Europe.
Digital TV technology will give users more channels and improve the quality of service. The shift will also free up some frequencies that may be allocated for wireless broadband Internet.
The International Telecommunications Union has given the Philippines until 2015 to complete the shift to digital TV technology, replacing the analog broadcast systems used by television stations today.
Some industry players have expressed their concern over the regulator’s move to junk the European standard for digital television, which is said to be more cost-effective and widely used around the world.
A source privy to the proceedings said the timing of the NTC decision appeared dubious because it was made just a few weeks before President Aquino assumed power.
But NTC Deputy Commissioner Douglas Michael Mallillin said the Japanese standard won over the European version due to the lower price of set-top boxes.
“Everyone in the industry has supported our choice,” Mallillin said. “Technically, there’s no issue.”
Japan also offered a “sweetener”—the establishment of a manufacturing facility in the Philippines—to persuade the government to adopt the Japanese standard, he added.
So far, no Philippine company has committed to this standard. - Paolo Montecillo, dated 13 December 2010, 11:51 PM.
Source: Inquirer

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