Thursday, June 30, 2011

Manila Bulletin: KBP bats for cheaper Japanese standard for local digital television

As far as KBP members know how ISDB-T is going through, NBN and Gem TV broadcasters expressed their proud and confident say that their ISDB-T transmission is still not yet encountering any problems at all. Remember, those two networks are the first among Philippine broadcasters to trial ISDB-T since 2008. And in fact, Gem HD still transmits high definition signals as of this writing on Channel 49, which we can say the first TV network to migrate into digital terrestrial TV. Read post after the jump.
MANILA, Philippines — Kapisanan ng mga Brodkaster ng Pilipinas (KBP), an umbrella association of local broadcast media continues to lobby for adopting the Japanese digital television standard in the country, instead of the more expensive European standard. 
Among the existing DTT standards available today, Japan’s Integrated Service Digital Broadcasting-Terrestrial (ISDB-T) costs less than Digital Video Broadcasting-Terrestrial2 (DVB2), its European counterpart, according to Atom Henares, chairman of the KBP Television Committee. 
DVB2 is the second generation of Europe’s digital tv standard, DVB. It can carry more channels than ISDB. However, he believes ISDB’s capacity is enough to transmit channels that will be produced by broadcast networks. 
“Filipinos don’t have to pay more just to have the extra number of channels that might just end up unused by the networks. The set-top box required for analog TV sets to receive digital signal for DVB-T2 is 60 percent more expensive than that of ISDB,” Henares explained. 
With ISDB, a frequency can carry up to eight channels which, when already rolled out, can provide Filipino viewers with up to 176 free-to-air tv channels that will allow broadcast networks to produce more channels that can cater to different market segments and specific interests. 
Another feature of ISDB is its mobility. All handheld devices like mobile phones and small TV sets that can receive digital signals will be able to receive digital broadcast. This is in contrast to DVB2 where mobility is just an option and not all devices can receive its signal unless customized to do so. 
“Filipinos are always on the go and with ISDB, they can watch their favorite TV programs even on the road,” he pointed out. 
ISDB also has a data transmission feature that allows broadcast networks to flash data at the TV screen of the viewers. This can be used in weather forecasting and government announcements. It can also be very helpful during emergency situations given that the Philippines is located in the Pacific Ring of Fire, making the country prone to earthquake and volcanic eruptions, as well as in the Intertropical Convergence Zone, which brings storms and typhoons all year round. 
“Since we began test broadcast on ISDB in 2009, signal was robust and there was no degradation in the quality of the images and sound,” says Engr. Antonio M. Leduna, Chief Technology Officer of National Broadcasting Network (NBN). 
NBN has tried broadcasting in both high and standard definitions and has also utilized the emergency warning and data casting features of ISDB. Their programs can also be viewed in hand held devices. 
Net 25 and GEM TV have also tried broadcasting in ISDB since early 2008. 
“We haven’t experienced any problems in our digital transmission. In fact, all our programs are still broadcast in high definition using ISDB,” according to Engr. Cesar Villadiego, Head of Engineering of Net 25. 
More than the features of ISDB, the Philippines will also benefit from migrating to the DTT standard as Japan promised funding and technical support for the country’s digital tv migration. 
“The Japanese government promised to support the country’s transition into the DTT era by setting up a factory here for the manufacturing of set-top boxes. This will create jobs for Filipinos and make the equipment more accessible,” concluded Henares. - Emmie V. Abadilla, dated 30 June 2011, 01:42 A.M.
Source: Manila Bulletin

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