Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Business Mirror: NTC chooses Japan’s ISDB for PHL digital TV standard

THE National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) has concluded its review on the preferred standard for the digital terrestrial television (DTT) broadcast service in the country. 

It recommended, with finality, Japan’s Integrated Services Digital Broadcasting (ISDB) standard over Europe’s DVB-T2. 

The NTC heads the technical working group (TWG) formed to craft the implementing rules and regulations (IRR) for the transition to digital broadcasting. 

“The TWG has recommended ISDB technology. We will inform the economic team about this and we will wait for their feedback. If their feedback is to proceed then we will issue the IRR already and schedule the signing of the memorandum of agreement with the Japanese,” said NTC Deputy Commissioner Carlo Jose Martinez. 

The team is composed of agency heads from the Department of Finance, National Economic and Development Authority, and Department of Trade and Industry. The NTC awaits their comments on the economic implications of its decision to shift to digital TV and its chosen DTT standard.

The TWG consists representatives from the Kapisanan ng mga Brodkaster ng Pilipinas (KBP), Commission on Information and Communications Technology, NTC, ABC Development Corp., ABS-CBN Corp., Aliw Broadcasting Corp., Broadcast Enterprises and Affiliated Media Inc., Christian Era Broadcasting Service Inc., Department of Trade and Industry, Bureau of Trade Regulation and Consumer Protection, Eagle Broadcasting Corp., and Zoe Broadcasting Network Inc.

The KBP and government channel National Broadcasting Network separately wrote the NTC to inform the agency that they are recommending Japan’s ISDB-T over Europe’s DVB-T2. They said consumers will pay more for the set-top boxes if the country will adopt DVB-T2.

“In our recommendation, all criteria were met by both standards. However, on the pricing issue that’s where it boils down. Japan’s set-top box costs around $20 each while the box for DVB-2 is $40,” said Martinez.

He added that only GMA Network Inc. and Broadcast Enterprises & Affiliated Media Inc. have recommended the European standard.

“We want the IRR released as soon as possible, hopefully within the year,” said the NTC official.

The telecom regulatory agency is eyeing the implementation of digital television service, starting with select key cities in the country, by 2012. The regulator wants the shift to be implemented it in phases, the same way Japan did.

“We plan to follow Japan’s model. They started with Tokyo then Osaka and then followed by other major cities. The TWG has yet to identify which cities will start the digital TV shift but maybe we could start with Manila, Cebu, Dava , among others,” said Martinez.

The ISDB-T platform is expected to 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 broadcasts to households. – Lenie Lectura, dated 23 August 2011, 07:31 PM.

Source: Business Mirror

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