MANILA, Philippines - ABS-CBN Broadcasting Corp. will spend an initial P1 billion in its bid to become the first company to offer digital television (DTV) in the country.
Company officials said as soon as the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) releases the rules that will govern DTV transmission, hopefully by June this year, ABS-CBN will be ready to offer this new technology. Government also has yet to decide between adopting the Japanese and European standard for DTV broadcast.
Since the NTC has yet to decide on the deadline for the total migration from analog to digital transmission to either 2015 or 2020, ABS-CBN will be offering both analog and digital in the interim.
But as soon as the deadline arrives, analog transmission will have to be totally shut down so that free-to-air channels can only be viewed either by using a box that would allow their TV sets to receive digital signal or subscribing to a cable TV service.
ABS-CBN owns SkyCable, the country’s largest cable TV service provider.
ABS-CBN DTV marketing head Miguel Mercado said they are ready to launch their operations within the year and are just awaiting the final go-signal from NTC.
The broadcasting company will be offering a digital box mainly to non-cable TV subscribers for the price of a DVD player (between P1,000 to P3,000) without any monthly subscription fee.Mercado said through this box, which can be attached to any kind of TV, viewers can enjoy five new channels for free in addition to receiving all free-to-air channels that will be broadcasting digitally. The new channels include two for kids, one for the youth, one for dads, and another for moms.
He revealed that this would include ABS-CBN’s Channel 2 and Studio 23, GEM, and NBN. These channels are currently doing test broadcasting in digital.
As for ABS-CBN, he said plans are to make DTV ready for Visayas and Mindanao in the next few years.
However, both GMA Network and TV5 have said that they are ready to shift to digital.
“With Philippine broadcasting companies going digital, the viewing public will be able to enjoy digital quality viewing in any TV as DTV addresses the issues of poor reception, grainy pictures and choppy audio,” Mercado explained.
The directive for the Philippines to go digital, he said, is up to par with the international standard as more and more countries are switching off their analog signals.
Source: Philippine StarSome of the countries that have adopted DTV include the US, China, Japan, Australia, South Korea, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Finland, Sweden, Norway, Switzerland, Germany, Spain and Denmark. - Mary Ann Ll. Reyes, dated 5 April 2011, 12:00 AM