Saturday, July 23, 2011

Manila Bulletin: Japan switches off analog signal

After almost 60 years of developing television broadcast advancements in the Asia and around the world, Japan is now ready to shutdown its analog TV service, the very first in Asia. And now, in 2011, the Land of the Rising Sun will also commence the very first digital TV switchover tomorrow, July 24, 2011, 3:00 Philippine Standard Time (4:00 JPN). Read the post after the break.
TOKYO, Japan – Japan marks another technological milestone Sunday when the whole country switches off analog transmission and goes into full digital broadcasting. 
In going digital, Japan will be using the ISDB-T or Integrated Services Digital Broadcasting-Terrestrial that provides audio, video and multimedia services. 
ISDB-T uses a modulation method referred to as Band Segmented OFDM with Time Interleave. 
Research and development of digital broadcasting in Japan started way back in 1990s with the rising need for HDTV (High Definitiion Television) to work together with SDTV (Standard Definition Television) as well as their Internet services. 
The country also needed to effectively utilize frequency resources and apply all these to interactive services and datacasting, the broadcasting of data over a wide area via radio waves. 
Japan needed the new technology to be available to mobile and portable devices to reach more people. In 1994, Japan’s Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communication (MIC) sought the technical requirements and soon after established the technical standards. 
ISDB-T was then recommended by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) and after licensing and further requirements were completed, ISDB-T was launched. 
In order to facilitate and prepare the whole country for the “switch off,’’ the ministry in cooperation with the local government, constructors, retailers and broadcasters worked hand in hand disseminating vital information. 
Information about ISDB-T was spread through various support centers, “explanatory meetings’’ and establishments of call centers. To monitor and measure the reception or signal, MIC sent out radio measurement vehicles. 
For the broadcaster’s part, in July 2008, notifications in the form of an “analog logo’’ was placed seen flashing on the upper right hand corner of television screens. This was viewed over some selected TV programs. 
In March 29, 2010, NHK started sequential notifications in the form of a letterbox on the upper and lower part of the TV screen. Other commercial TVs soon followed suit. 
All broadcasters soon did a “virtual analog switch-off’’ seen as “blue and black screen’’ all at the same time especially during primetime and last July 1, a countdown was then displayed showing the number of days remaining as to the termination of analog transmission. 
At exactly noon Sunday, viewers with analog TV will receive only the “blue and black notice’’ saying that analog transmission has “switched off.’’ 
And so after approximately 10 years of preparation and transition, the day has finally arrived where the whole country will experience full digital transmission. This is with the exemption of a few areas that were badly damaged by the recent earthquake. These areas are scheduled to go on full digital transmission on March 2012. 
In the Philippines, the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) first considered a digital switchover by 2012. However, due to delays in reviews of rules and implementation, transition will push through next year, 2012, extending complete shut off of analog transmission by 2015. - Eleonor G. Amadora, dated 23 July 2011, 01:20 PM.
Source: Manila Bulletin

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