Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Business Mirror: NTC supports Japan digital TV standard

After the alarming suggestion of GMA Network to reconsider the new European DVB-T2 as the DTV standard of the country, NTC finally raised its hand as it sticks with the chosen Japanese ISDB-T standard.

Read the post after the jump.
THE National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) is going to stick with the Japanese Integrated Services Digital Broadcast (ISDB) technology as the standard for Digital Terrestrial Television (DTT) broadcast service in the country despite talks that some industry players prefer the European platform.
NTC commissioner Gamaliel Cordoba said the technical working group (TWG), which is responsible for drafting the rules and frequency planning for the implementation of the ISDB-TV technology in the country, will be ready with the rules by April.
“It takes three to five years for a new technology to mature. We cannot wait for that, otherwise the Philippines will be left behind in the digital TV migration. So the TWG will continue with crafting the [implementing rules and regulations] and its implementation unless there emerges a very significant compelling reason to do otherwise,” said the NTC chief in a text message.
The NTC has set by end-2015 the compulsory transition of all analog TV service providers to shift to digital TV and for the termination of all analog TV broadcast transmissions. If the NTC chose to shift to another platform the Philippines may not meet the schedule.
When DTT technology is enforced in the country there is a need to switch off all analog TV handsets. The switchoff would render all nondigital TV sets obsolete unless connected to a set-top box.
During the first TWG meeting on Friday, Cordoba said officials from the Philippine Cable Television Association raised the possibility of the adopting the European DVB-T standard instead of Japan’s ISDB because there is an emerging version of the said technology.
GMA Network Inc. president Gilberto Duavit Jr. earlier said “there is a clamor to review the benefits of the European standard” as the said platform “has a new version, one that it is more advanced and better than the previous.”
It can be recalled that the previous commission had chosen Europe’s DVB platform because the set-top boxes to be used for DTT broadcast service were cheaper than the Japanese standard and the former was more widely used in most countries. But when Japan brought down the price of the boxes to $10 each, the NTC changed its mind.
During the meeting, three committees formed. Cordoba said there was a committee on the legal and technical aspects concerning migration to digital TV.  Likewise, a communications group was formed. “Meetings will be every Wednesday for the TWG and every Monday for the committees. We will try to finish the IRR in two months,” said Cordoba.
The NTC will also invite during the meetings representatives of the ICT Committee in Congress and Public Service Committee in Senate.
Last week, Japan minister and deputy chief of mission Motohiko Kato said the Philippines stands to gain from the ISDB platform compared to the DVB-T2. Among them, he cited, are the following: The ISDB-T platform will provide more business opportunities because the bandwidth that will be assigned for digital TV can also be used to service mobile phones; the technology is also capable of sending emergency warning broadcasting system to the households; it provides clearer image due to robustness against errors; cheap price of set-top boxes; Philippine government need not pay Japan any royalty fees; there is wider coverage area; and support from the Japanese government is overwhelming.
“The European standard does not have what we offer. Our standard provides a variety of services and it is more cost effective and we will also provide technical support,” said Kato.
The TWG is composed of members from the broadcast industry and stakeholders such as the government, suppliers and consumers. It is chaired by the NTC and cochaired by the Kapisanan ng mga Brodkasters ng Pilipinas. - Lenie Lectura, dated 14 February 2011, 07:44 PM.
Source: Business Mirror

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