Sunday, February 6, 2011

I.T. Matters: European standard better, says TV exec

GMA Network, after approving with the other broadcast networks to decide and chose the Japanese ISDB-T standard, here they come again and wanted to reconsider the choice of NTC for the better digital TV standard that will suit the Philippine broadcast industry.

Read the post after the break.

BROADCAST GIANT GMA Network, Inc. said the government should reconsider its decision to pick the Japanese standard for the country’s switch to digital television in 2015, saying a new European standard was better. 
“There [is a] newly emerging standard with significant difference in quality,” said Gilberto R. Duavit, Jr., GMA Network president.
The broadcast executive said the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) should revisit the upgraded Digital Video Broadcasting (DVB) technology, or the DVB2 used in Europe.
DVB was rejected last year in favor of the Japanese standard.
“[For] the Integrated Services Digital Broadcasting-Terrestrial (ISDB-T) standard [of Japan] and the old DVB standards, it can be said that either one is superior over the other in some respects. But with the DVB2, the difference in quality is significant,” he said.
“With the emergence of the DVB2, there is a hope that the standard chosen by the NTC will be reviewed,” he added.
In June last year, the commission, following unanimous industry support, decided to adopt the ISDB-T standard as the country’s digital television platform. Aside from Japan, the standard has been widely adopted in South America.
Mr. Duavit said the shift to digital technology from the current analog system would allow accessibility to more channels and better video and audio quality.
The delivery of high-definition content will be through a conventional aerial antenna, instead of a satellite or cable connection, he added.
DVB2, the successor to the DVB standard, is now widely used throughout Europe and most parts of Asia, Mr. Duavit pointed out.
“I would not be surprised if there are discussions for a possible review [over which digital television technology should be adopted],” he said.
Sought for comment, NTC Commissioner Gamaliel A. Cordoba told BusinessWorld in a telephone interview yesterday it was the broadcast industry that had picked the Japanese digital technology standard.
“If the industry players have issues with the standard, they should have come to us. As far as we are concerned, it was the entire broadcast industry that had agreed with it,” he said.
Mr. Cordoba said the technical working group will meet on Friday to discuss the “organizational matters” for the rollout of the system.
“We will meet the industry players on Friday for the first meeting of the technical working group. We hope to form the necessary committees that day,” he said.
The decision last year to adopt the ISDB-T standard was reached in a meeting of stakeholders from the Kapisanan ng mga Brodkaster ng Pilipinas, GMA Network, ABS-CBN Corp., RPN Channel 9, and Vanguard Radio Network Co., Inc., among others.
In June last year, representatives from the Japanese embassy and NTC officials signed a memorandum of cooperation. Japanese makers of the set-top boxes required for non-digital TV sets were said to have committed to build a manufacturing plant in the Philippines to help cut prices.
Mr. Duavit had supported the NTC’s decision to adopt the Japanese standard, saying in a statement last year the network had “assessed the prominent DTT (digital terrestrial television) standards available and have determined ISDB-T to be technically suitable for our television broadcast industry. The network therefore endorses the adoption of the ISDB-T DTT for the country.”
The government is eyeing a switch to digital TV by 2015.
In 2006, the industry regulator released a memorandum saying the country would be using the European standard for digital television. The NTC later deferred this, saying more consultations were needed. -
Source: I.T. Matters

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