Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Business World: Decision on digital TV standard expected ‘before the year ends’

In the interview, both ABS-CBN and GMA failed to answer the queries of the switch to digital TV this year, a TV5 official warmly expressed their decision on going digital maybe before this year ends. Read the post after the jump.
THE GOVERNMENT sees completion of the country’s shift to digital television taking place beyond 2015, as the regulator expects to take more time to decide with finality on which standard to use and release the implementing rules and regulations (IRR) for the adoption of this technology. 
"At present, the target is still 2015. But this will most likely be changed as we are already pressed for time," Gamaliel A. Cordoba, commissioner of the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC), said in a telephone interview on Friday last week. 
Broadcast firms have been waiting for NTC’s decision on which standard to adopt and for the IRR in order to roll out their systems. 
Mr. Cordoba said that while an NTC technical working group last week had recommended the adoption of the Japanese standard over the rival European counterpart, "the commission has still to review this and come up with our own decision to recommend to Malacañang." 
In June last year, NTC, citing industry preference, announced it had chosen Japan’s Integrated Services Digital Broadcasting-Terrestrial (ISDB-T) standard as the country’s platform over the European Digital Video Broadcasting (DVB) technology. 
Last March, however, the House of Representatives Committee on Information and Communication Technology, pressed NTC to review its decision, noting the upgraded European standard, DVB-2, was not assessed. 
In a last-ditch attempt to convince NTC as it conducted a review, representatives of the European Union Delegation to the Philippines and of the industry-led DVB Project briefed regulators in late-June on the DVB-2 upgrade. 
At about the same time, the Kapisanan ng mga Brodkaster ng Pilipinas issued a statement voicing preference for the Japanese standard, citing cost concerns. 
"We will definitely…[arrive at a decision] before the year ends," Mr. Cordoba said on Friday. 
He admitted that this decision is what has been holding up the issuance of the IRR. 
At the same time, Mr. Cordoba noted that "completing the shift to digital TV is really dependent on the broadcasters and the public," hence, more time may be needed to complete the adoption of the new technology. 
"The rollout of signals will be dependent on broadcasters since they may need time to invest, put in place the equipment, etc.," Mr. Cordoba explained. 
"The adoption of the technology on the public’s part is dependent on their purchase of digital TV technology-ready sets or set top boxes for their analog TV sets." 
While officials of ABS-CBN Corp. and GMA Network, Inc. did not reply to queries last week, Ray C. Espinosa, TV5 president and chief executive officer, said via text that his network is just awaiting NTC’s decision as it has already been putting up infrastructure to support a digital TV system. 
"We await the implementing rules of the NTC. We have been building…a digital broadcast infrastructure," Mr. Espinosa said last week. 
He added that capital expenditure needed to complete such infrastructure "will not be very substantial." 
As TV5 itself supports the Japanese standard, the firm welcomes the recommendation of NTC’s technical working group, Mr. Espinosa added. 
Motohiko Kato, minister and deputy chief of mission from the Embassy of Japan in the Philippines, said in a telephone interview last Friday that his country is "ready to provide full support [to the Philippines] as we did in countries in Latin America." 
Aside from Japan, the ISDB-T system has been widely adopted in South America. 
"We are glad to know that the NTC technical working group decided on the Japanese system," Mr. Kato said. 
"We’re keeping an eye on the final decision," he added. - Kathleen A. Martin, dated 29 August 2011, 09:39 PM.
Source: Business World

Monday, August 29, 2011

Inquirer: European firms make last push for DVB platform

Now, they are telling two words. “Disastrous Consequences”. Read post after the break.

Proponents of the second-generation European Digital Video Broadcasting (DVB2) digital TV platform say government may have been misled into choosing a rival platform made in Japan, which would lead to “disastrous consequences” for Filipino consumers.

Switching to digital TV broadcasting will mean more channels and better signal reception for Filipino viewers. The government’s choice on which platform to roll out in the Philippines will mean big business for companies that build equipment that support the different technologies.

Earlier this month, the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) said its technical working group (TWG) had recommended that the regulator pick the ISDB standard from Japan.

NTC Deputy Commissioner Carlos Martinez said the regulator’s three-member commission would likely issue an order next month in line with the TWG’s recommendations.

The TWG, made up of industry experts, said the ISDB technology was cheaper, making it easier for consumers to accept. The TWG’s findings were largely in line with the position of industry group Kapisanan ng mga Brodkaster ng Pilipinas (KBP).

“I believe it would be negligent of DVB Project if it did not correct what clearly is wrong information which is being provided by KBP,” said Peter Siebert, executive director of the European standard’s proponent, the DVB Project.

Siebert noted that KBP’s findings recognized the DVB-2 standard, which was an improved version of the original DVB platform used in all of Europe and parts of Asia, as technically superior.

The KBP noted that the DVB-2 standard could transmit more data while using less energy, making it cheaper for networks to run.

However, the industry group, taking its lead from network giant ABS-CBN Corp., said equipment to support Japan’s ISDB standard, particularly set-top boxes that convert digital signals into viewable images, were cheaper since the technology was more mature.

The KBP claimed that there are only a few electronics manufacturers in the world that sell DVB-2 set-top boxes, making them expensive due to the lack of competition.

“This is totally false and indeed there are many manufacturers. Additionally, integrated receivers from such companies as Sony, LG, Panasonic, Samsung, etc., are all available with DVB-T2 decoders,” Siebert said.

Siebert also noted that in Brazil, which uses ISDB technology, shop prices of receivers are significantly higher than those for the DVB-2 standard.

Despite the presence of government subsidies in the Latin American nation, set-top box prices were still sold at $120 each, whereas European set-top boxes cost only $45 each.

The KBP earlier said Japanese companies have committed to sell set-top boxes at around $30 each in the Philippines, but a member of the TWG who requested anonymity said, “Those were just promises but actual prices are much higher.”

“We believe that both on the basis of technical and socioeconomic considerations, DVB-2 is far superior to ISDB and would bring the Philippines innumerable benefits now and in the future,” Siebert said.

Last year, the NTC issued a memorandum circular that said the ISDB technology would be used in the Philippines.

However, this has been put under review following calls by GMA Network Inc., which is not a member of the KBP.

GMA said the DVB-2 standard may be worth a second look due to its operational advantages. – Paolo G. Montecillo, dated 28 August 2011, 09:46 PM.

Source: Inquirer

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

ABU: Philippines' NTC endorses Japan's digital TV standard

Philippines' National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) on Tuesday said it will endorse to the government the adoption of the Japanese standard for the Philippines' migration to digital terrestrial TV, The Manila Times reports. 
Jose Carlo Martinez, NTC Deputy Commissioner told reporters that the technical working group and most of the broadcasting networks chose Japan's Integrated Service Digital Broadcasting-Terrestrial standard over Europe's Digital Video Broadcasting-Terrestrial 2. 
Mr Martinez said both platforms met the criteria set by the TWG but the Japanese set-top box was more affordable at US$20 compared with the European standard's at US$40. 
He expects NTC to issue the implementing rules and regulations before the end of the year. 
The regulator estimates that around 14 million Filipino households use analogue TV sets. The country plans to migrate from analogue to digital TV by 2015. 
The Association of Broadcasters of the Philippines (KBP) had earlier recommended the adoption of ISDB-T because of its affordable set-top boxes and the assistance that the Japanese government promised the Philippines. 
KBP said various TV networks have undertaken test broadcasts of digital broadcast using ISDB-T, namely ABS-CBN, Net 25, RPN, IBC 13, Channel 4 and SBN. 
The Philippines will be the first in Asia (other than Japan) to adopt the Japanese standard for digital TV. - dated 24 August 2011.
Source: Asia-Pacific Broadcasting Union

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

News5 InterAksyon: We're "turning Japanese" on digital TV platform

The review is finally almost over! It took almost months to complete the NTC's review of two of the sought-after digital TV standards as of this writing (DVB-T2 and ISDB-T). And now, we can say we are "Turning Japanese"! (Gotta remember the viral 80's song).

The National Telecommunications Commission is ready to release finally the Implementing Rules and Regulation for digital TV broadcast, once the economic group says "Go ISDB-T!" Here are the following who voted and opted out for what DTV standard:

Japanese ISDB-T:
  • Kapisanan ng mga Brodkaster ng Pilipinas (KBP), the mother affiliation of the country's broadcast industry
  • National Broadcasting Network (NBN) via People's Television Network Inc. (PTNI), our government station
  • GEM TV via Christian Era Broadcasting Services Inc.
  • Net 25 via Eagle Broadcasting Corp.
  • ABS-CBN Corporation
  • TV5 via ABC Development Corp.
  • Aliw Broadcasting Corp.
  • UNTV via Progressive Broadcasting Corp.
  • Zoe Broadcasting Corp., among others
  • ETC, TalkTV and 2nd Avenue via Solar Entertainment Corp.
European DVB-T2
  • GMA Network Inc.
  • Broadcast Enterprises and Affiliated Media, Inc. (BEAM)

To name, ISDB-T can offer high definition (HD) services, standard definition services and mobile TV services (portable) in a single frequency. It can allocate 176 channels on free TV once we've gone digital. Read the post after the break.

MANILA, Philippines – We’re turning Japanese. That is, as far as digital broadcasting, for which the country is preparing to migrate, is concerned. 
Regulators have finished a review of the preferred standard for the digital terrestrial television (DTT) broadcast service in the country, and the review panel recommended, with finality, Japan’s Integrated Services Digital Broadcasting (ISDB) standard over the European platform preferred by a few players, according to officials. 
“The TWG [technical working group] 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,” NTC deputy commissioner Carlo Jose Martinez said on Tuesday. 
With the selection of the Japanese platform having been decided on with finality, the implementing rules for the shift are soon to follow. The NTC is looking to have digital television service implemented next year, with select key cities first. 
The NTC heads the technical working group formed to craft the implementing rules and regulations (IRR) for the transition to digital broadcasting---a process that was delayed by the last-minute lobby by some industry players to try out the European DVB-T2 platform, which they claimed is superior. 
Cost however, seemed to play a key part in the TWG consideration, as estimates showed that with the European platform, the public must pay substantially more for the set top boxes that go with the system. 
The review team is composed of agency heads from the Department of Finance, National Economic and Development Authority, Department of Trade and Industry. The NTC sought their comments on the economic implications of its decision to shift to digital TV and its chosen DTT standard. 
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. were all represented in the TWG. 
The industry’s self-regulatory body, KBP, and government channel National Broadcasting Network separately wrote NTC recommending Japan’s ISDB-T over Europe’s DVB-T2. Among several factors, they zeroed in on the cost argument against DVB-T2. 
NTC’s Martinez explained that, “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.” 
Besides the cost factor, Japan’s ISDB-T platform has been touted as being able to provide more business opportunities because the bandwidth to be assigned for digital TV can also be used to service mobile phones. This technology can also be used to send emergency warning broadcasts to households. 
Only GMA Network Inc. and Broadcast Enterprises & Affiliated Media, Inc. favored the European DVB-T2, described as an improved version of the DVB platform. 
Meanwhile, Martinez said they are looking to have the implementing rules “released as soon as possible, hopefully within the year.” 
Following the Japanese system, the NTC wants the migration to digital TV carried out in phases. The Japanese, according to Martinez, “started with Tokyo then Osaka, and then followed by other major cities.” 
He said the TWG will still have to decide which cities will pilot the digital TV shift “but maybe we could start with Manila , Cebu, Davao , among others.” - Llewelyn Sanchez, dated 23 August 2011, 06:21 PM.
Source: News5 InterAksyon

Malaya: ABS-CBN to raise up to P5B for digital shift

It is gonna be a face to face in digital TV broadcasting, as ABS-CBN raises its DTV rollout to a whopping P5-B. Since 2007, the country's premier television station is investing on its transition to digital terrestrial television, but this time, ABS-CBN is going to, and finally, marketing out its capital to DTV transition through the Japanese ISDTV (International Standard for Digital Television), or simply known as ISDB-T (Integrated Services Digital Broadcast).

For now, ABS-CBN almost invested half a million pesos for the movie library for DTV. This movie library will be used for one of its premium DTV channel on free TV soon, which is a movie channel. A clue, either.

Now, we do have four TV networks in digital TV format, namely Gem HD, NBN, ABS-CBN and TV5. Other networks are bid to go digital by late this year or early 2012 as Philippines will still continue to switch-off its analog television service a date between 2015 and 2020. Read the post after the break.
ABS-CBN Corp. plans to raise P5 billion for the rollout of digital terrestrial television (DTT) nationwide, company officials said. 
Rolando Valdueza, ABS-CBN chief finance officer, said the company has spent P500 million for a movie library for digital TV. 
"It depends on the take-up. If necessary, we will do some fund-raising if we’re going to do a nationwide rollout," Valdueza said. 
The broadcast firm is still waiting for the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) to complete the guidelines for digital TV. 
Valdueza said the company is hopeful the commercial rollout of the new technology could take place this year. 
The implementing rules and regulations on DTT were supposed to be released in June but Malacañang directed the NTC to evaluate the standard offered by a European consortium. 
ABS-CBN prefers the ISDTV technology of Japan, which is being tested in Pampanga. 
ABS-CBN launched in April a digital TV service called DTV digibox, which aims to capture 90 percent of low-income households without cable in the country. 
The digibox will be serve as the viewers’ gateway to five new premium TV channels on free-to-air TV. It will be initially available in Luzon this year then in the Visayas and Mindanao next year.
Digibox rates range from P1,000 to P3,000. 
Customer can also watch other channels like ABS-CBN Channel 2, Studio 23, NBN and GEM. 
Since 2007, ABS-CBN has been laying the groundwork for the new technology, the broadcaster said. The network’s DTV system in place and ready to be rolled out in the second half of the year. - dated August 23, 2011
Source: Malaya

Malaya: NTC favors Japan digital TV

The National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) will endorse to administration economic managers the Japanese ISDB-T technology as the country’s standard for digital terrestrial television (DTT), as the majority of broadcast firms’ stakeholders prefer it to the European standard because of cheaper set-top boxes. 
Jose Carlo Martinez, NTC deputy commissioner, said the technical working group chose ISDB-T after the Kapisanan ng mga Broadcaster ng Pilipinas (KBP) and major television networks ABS-CBN and TV5 supported the Japanese standard. 
GMA Network Inc. and Broadcast Enterprises & Affiliated Media Inc. expressed preference for the European standard. 
"The implementing rules and regulations on DTT will be release as soon as we receive the go signal," Martinez said. 
He is targeting the issuance this year. 
The guidelines for the DTT were supposed to have been issued last June, but the Office of the President directed the NTC to do another evaluation between the Japanese and European standards. 
Although the European standard was found technically superior, the Japanese set-top box was found much cheaper at $20 against its rival’s $40. 
A paper submitted by the KBP said that although the DVB-T2 system is technically superior to ISDB-T, these advantages have been irrelevant to the most important stakeholder in the project as consumers need a cheaper set-top box for migration to DTT. 
"The cost of the (box) is the key to harmonizing the opposing interests. The low cost lowers the entry or migration barrier for the consumer and hastens the analog shut off," KBP said. - Myla Iglesia, dated 23 August 2011.
Source: Malaya

Friday, August 12, 2011

Inquirer: Delayed (digital) telecast

And now someone talks about DVB-T2's royalty. See for the difference. Read post after the break.

The Aquino (Part II) administration is taking its sweet time in deciding when this country should start the program for “digital” broadcast—for both the radio and television. 
From what I gathered, the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) already has a draft of the implementing rules of the program. 
Our sources in the industry tell us that the NTC is only waiting for the go-signal from Malacañang to release the rules and start digital broadcasting in the country. But not yet! 
It seems that Malacañang, particularly our leader Benigno Simeon (a.k.a. BS), still wants the broadcast industry, particularly the TV stations, to change their stand on one particular aspect of the program: the all-important “standard.” 
The local TV stations already narrowed down the choices to two standards: the Japanese standard (technically known as ISDB-T) and the European standard (or DVB-T2). 
As a group, at least as represented by the KBP, or the Kipisanan ng mga Brodkaster ng Pilipinas, the industry already decided to adopt the Japanese standard. 
Malacañang, however, called the industry leaders to a meeting, with BS himself telling them to reconsider their position. 
From all indications, the Aquino (Part II) administration wants to force the European standard on the broadcast industry. In the process, the digital program gets delayed. Much delayed! In fact, it has been six years in the making now. 
* * * 
Now what is in the digital program (versus the current “analog”) for us—the consumers, radio listeners, TV viewers, the almost hundred million people in this country? 
Digital broadcast is much better than the current system called “analog,” and this goes for everybody—meaning, the government, broadcast industry and the public. 
Analog broadcast is basically radio broadcast—i.e. FM and AM. In analog TV, the video is transmitted in AM, and the audio, in FM. Thus the broadcast falls prey to all sorts of interference. 
In comparison, digital TV is transmitted as data bits—i.e. computer data. It is the same system for your music CD or movie DVD. 
Digital TV benefits the consumers because it makes the reception much clearer, not to mention the wide array of programs that the public can get in digital TV. 
When they switch to digital, the TV stations can air several programs at the same time, even while they are using their current bandwidth. 
You can imagine the impact of digital TV on the programming of the networks. They can now offer different shows for the young and the old, either men or women, even considering the market segmentation from class A to class E. At least we do not have to suffer all those soap operas. 
For the business community, therefore, because of the multiple programming options of the networks, advertising rates are bound to go down, more affordable at least to a lot of medium size enterprises that, at present, cannot afford the prohibitive ad rates of the TV networks. 
As for the government, digital TV is bound to free up frequencies that the NTC can bid out to the broadcast industry. Yes, the government can still make a lot of money from the digital program. 
In short, digital TV is good. 
* * * 
Here is the thing: the consumers must have TV sets capable of receiving the digital broadcast, through a special gadget called “set-top boxes,” or STB. 
It is true that the investments of TV stations will be higher in the Japanese standard than the European, not to mention the savings in electricity cost, because the European standard consumes less electricity than the Japanese. 
But as the KBP pointed out in its position paper submitted to the NTC, the European standard is a “proprietary” system, meaning, that the TV stations must pay “royalty” to the developers of the European standard. 
The “royalty” also applies to the STB—the boxes in your homes. 
Thus, aside from the TV networks having to spend truckloads of money to go digital, the program also entails cost to the viewing public. 
In its position paper, the KBP recommended the adoption of the Japanese standard mainly because it was the most affordable standard for the Filipino consumers. 
The Japanese government itself pushed for the adoption of this standard in the Philippines, promising that Japanese companies would build STB manufacturing plants in the Philippines. 
KBP took it to mean that the cost of STB would drop significantly. The KBP estimated that the difference in the STB price, between the European and the Japanese standards, would amount to about $20 per box. 
That, to the guys down here in my barangay, is quiet a lot of money. - Conrado R. Banal III, dated 10 August 2011, 09:27 PM.
Source: Inquirer

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

DTV Pilipinas Nokia-Ovi App Available

As we strengthen our reach for every Filipino to inform and advise more about digital television, we also now have our Nokia-Ovi app, next to our Android App few months ago. Through the Ovi app, we've connected our Blogspot and finally a feed from our official Facebook page in one. This will further give the freshest news and updates not only throughout the world of digital television, but also some scoops and facts straight from the team of DTV Pilipinas.

To download the application, simply click this one >> DOWNLOAD.

This app best works on Symbian Phones with operating software of S60v5 till the latest version.

The DTV Pilipinas Android App via AppsGeyser is still available for download. Just snap the QR Code located on the right pane of this blog, and enjoy streaming into our contents.

NOTE: If you do have any remarks on the app, something suspicious or bugs being seen, please report to us immediately. Thanks.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Newsbytes: Broadcasters hit gov’t delay in DTV adoption

An organization of broadcast firms in the country has issued a position paper urging the government to immediately implement and not hold back the adoption of a Japanese DTV standard which the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) picked last year. 
Digital TV or DTV, is also known by the acronym DTT or Digital Terrestrial Television. 
The Kapisanan ng mga Brodkaster ng Pilipinas (KBP) said that time is of the essence in the roll-out of the DTV standard, noting that the government is just wasting its time vacillating on which platform to adopt. 
The NTC, the industry’s regulatory body, last year chose the ISDB-T, the Japanese DTV standard. However, that directive has been put on hold after Malacanang ordered a review of the decision for further study on the merits of a competing platform, the DVB-T, also known as the European standard. 
“Again, we stress that the point of time for making a decision, or the factor of ‘when’, is now,” the KBP said. 
The group noted that the first technical working group (TWG), convened about five years ago, recommended DBV-T as the preferred standard for DTV in the Philippines. 
“This recommendation was anchored on DBV-T being the more mature standard over the Japanese standard and also the lower cost of the DVB-T Set Top Box (STB) that would directly impact on the consumer and thus, the speed of take-up,” it observed. 
TWG-1, however, noted the technical superiority of ISDB-T over DVB-T and also the potential of ISDB-T’s nomadic or mobile reception. 
“Consequently, about two years later or in 2009, the industry felt that a review of the TWG-1 recommendation was in order given the developments that were taking place on the ISDB-T front,” it stated. 
A second TWG was then convened by the NTC. Independent of the NTC TWG-2, the KBP convened its television committee to make a comparative evaluation of DVB-T and ISDB-T. Lopez-owned ABS-CBN also commissioned its own laboratory and field tests comparing DVB-T with ISDB-T. 
The result was that in 2010, according to the KBP, TWG-2 recommended the adoption of ISDB-T as the DTT standard for the Philippines. The recommendation was anchored on the following: 
  • ISDB-T is a flexible DTT transmission system that is capable of providing three levels of hierarchical modulation (audio, video, and data) to fixed, mobile, and handheld terminals without the need for additional transmission facilities. 
  • ISDB-T is able to deliver more channels per frequency than DVB-T. 
  • ISDB-T set-top boxes (STB) would be more affordable because of the supplier commitment on the price and also supported by a commitment from Japanese government to build a plant in the Philippines to manufacture STBs. 
At the time of re-evaluation, ISDB-T was shown to have achieved maturity comparable to DVB-T. ISDB-T’s technical superiority also had actual validation from countries that deployed on the standard, and further confirmed in the laboratory and field tests conducted by ABS-CBN. 
A commitment on the price of the ISDB-T STB, which was significantly lower vis-à-vis DVB-T STB, was also given by the Japanese government, the KBP noted. 
While there was some issue because the price guarantee referred to the ISDB-T MPEG 2 STB and not the MPEG 4 STB, the latter was still cheaper than the DVB-T MPEG 4 STB, the group said. 
Consequently, in 2010, the NTC issued a memorandum circular officially adopting ISDB-T as the DTT standard for the Philippines. This paved the way for test broadcasts by various television networks of digital broadcast using ISDB-T, namely, ABS-CBN, Net 25, RPN-9, IBC 13, Channel 4, and SBN. 
But at this point in time, the KBP said the industry began to notice the development path of DVB-T particularly the second generation DVB-T or DVB-T2. 
DVB-T2 emerged a year after the 2010 NTC circular adopting ISDB-T, and at the height of the consultations on the implementing rules and regulations for DTT in the Philippines, the KBP noted. 
Consequently, TWG-3 was formed and tasked to review the choice of ISDB-T in view of DVB-T2. It was given the task of comparing ISDB-T with DVB-T2 and to determine whether the reasons for adopting ISDB-T still hold vis-à-vis DVB-T2. 
This is “very much like TWG-2, which was tasked to determine whether the then reasons for recommending DVB-T still held vis-à-vis ISDB-T,” the KBP noted. 
“In fact, with the benefit of hindsight, had we not reviewed the initial DVB-T recommendation of TWG-1, we would now be in the same situation as European countries stuck with a legacy technology with the advent of DVB-T2,” the organization said. 
In the end, the KBP said that although the DVB-T2 system is technically superior, the shorter implementation process offered by the ISDB-T “would benefit broadcasters who can recover their costs more quickly while delivering good quality service.” 
“With the Government facilitating the process towards DTT at the earliest possible time, the Government will also be reaping the benefits of the digital dividend soonest,” it concluded. - dated 08 August 2011, 10:32 AM.
Source: Newsbytes Philippines

News 5 InterAksyon: KBP favors Japan platform for digital TV

MANILA, Philippines -- The latest European platform for Digital Terrestrial Television (DTT) is superior to Japan’s technology, but regulators should give priority to affordability when making the much-awaited decision of which standard the country should adopt, the Kapisanan ng mga Brodkaster sa Pilipinas (KBP) has said. 
The technical advantages offered by Europe’s DVB-T2 system are, after all, “irrelevant to the most important stakeholder in the project, the Filipino consumer,” who is “is entitled to clearer and better quality TV experience through an affordable migration to DTT,” said the self-regulatory broadcast body’s position paper, submitted to the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) last week. 
A technical review of the European platform had held up the release by NTC of its implementing rules and regulations for migrating to DTT, since a final decision on which DTT standard will be adopted by the country is part of the process. 
The KBP and the state channel National Broadcasting Network have recommended Japan’s ISDB-T over Europe’s DVB-T2, stressing that consumers would have to pay more for the set top boxes if the DVB-T2 were adopted. 
“The set top-top box for DVB-T2 (MPEG 4) is substantially higher than ISDB-T (MPEG 4) with a price difference of almost US$20,” said the KBP. Indefinitely waiting for the DVB-T2 system to become affordable to consumers will be disadvantageous to all, it added. 
Besides the high rollout cost, broadcasters are also concerned about when the SO (analogue shut off) will take place, said KBP. 
To ensure that the public gets free TV service during the transition from analogue to digital TV, broadcasters are compelled to operate both analogue and digital networks. 
Broadcasters, according to KBP, will benefit from an earlier ASO because that wipes out the operating cost of its analogue transmitter. “This brings back the need for lower set top boxes. Experience of countries that migrated to DTT clearly established the direct correlation between the cost of STB and the rate of take-up and ultimately the ASO. With a lower cost of the STB, the higher the take-up rate and consequently, the earlier the ASO,” explained the KBP. 
The number of manufacturers is also tied to the concern over the cost of the boxes. There is only one manufacturer of DVB-T2 set top boxes but several for ISDB-T, according to KBP. 
The Philippines, meanwhile, will also benefit from opting for the Japanese standard because of the assistance committed by Japan, said KBP. 
Such assistance includes: the development, free of charge, of a frequency plan for the Philippine government by the Japanese government; the government-to-government support in terms of loans in order to give state-run stations the funds to develop and deliver digital broadcasting; and low-interest loans for Philippine broadcasters implementing their individual DTT plans with ISDB-T.
The KBP urged the regulators to consider well “the commitments and support of the ISDB-T stakeholders, especially the Japanese government, to the NTC for the seamless transition to DTT.” Such aid saves the government a lot of resources in terms of “the NTC funds that would otherwise be spent for technical assistance and support from third party suppliers,” said the KBP.
No similar commitments were offered by the stakeholders of the DVB-T2 system.
“These three abovementioned points are vital services that will make the take-up of ISDB-T go faster. This will in turn make better business sense for broadcasters as it will lessen the return on investment time once the take-up rate is hastened and ASO is attained,” added KBP. - Llewelyn Sanchez, dated 08 August 2011, 05:31 AM
Source: News 5 InterAksyon

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Philippine Star: KBP urges NTC to adopt Japan technology for digital TV in Phl

Another article-related with the KBP urging the National Telecommunications Commission to further adopt officially the Japanese standard for digital terrestrial television has been released, and with this one, it claimed that GMA Network, the only broadcast firm who attest with the Japanese and opted for a European DTV standard, is now giving up its choice and making NTC to be thorough on choosing the best among the two before leaving the official mark. Read the post after the break.
MANILA, Philippines - The broadcasting industry has recommended to the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) the adoption of the Japanese ISDB-T as the digital terrestrial television (DTT) standard for the Philippines. 
In a position paper submitted to the NTC-DTT technical working group III, the Kapisanan ng mga Brodkaster ng Pilipinas (KBP) said that any technical advantage offered by the European standard DVB-T2 at this point is outweighed by the benefits to be gained by adopting ISDB-T, with the substantially lower cost of its set-up box resulting in faster take-up by the consumer, and thus, an earlier analog switch-off. 
KBP groups all broadcasting networks in the country, including ABS-CBN and TV 5, but excluding NBN and GMA7. 
But even government-owned National Broadcasting Network (NBN) is pushing for ISDB-T. GMA, on the other hand, has stopped pushing for the European standard and instead wants the NTC to just be very thorough before making a final choice. 
The set-top box is the device that enables the reception of a DTT service-signal by an analog TV set. 
“Although DVB-T2 system is technically superior, these advantages have been shown to be irrelevant to the most important stakeholder in the project - the Filipino consumer. The consumer is entitled to clearer and better quality TV experience through an affordable migration to DTT. Consequently, stakeholders will realize the benefits of the digital dividend earlier with ISDB-T as the DTT standard for the Philippines,” KBP said. 
GMA Network has recommended to the NTC that in order to come up with a comprehensive and credible review, comparative technical and commercial assessments of both standards must be carried out. 
It said actual signal trial of ISDB-T and DVB-T2 must be carried out to verify claims of DVB-T2 over ISDB-T under Philippine conditions. GMA said the commercial evaluation must be expanded to include all relevant cost components of DTT implementation, particularly set-top box (STB) cost and other attendant costs, infrastructure capitalization, operating expenses. 
GMA said that in conducting the review, the following criteria should be considered: capacity/transport efficiency, signal robustness/integrity, system flexibility, interoperability with program distribution network, emergency warning system, STB market price, capitalization, and operating expenses. 
For its part, NBN in a separate position paper pushed for the ISDB-T Japanese standard, being a flexible technology that willl be able to meet the present requirements and future demands. 
NBN said that ISDB-T has rich features. “It supports the emergency applications, multi-media home platform and data broadcasting. The selected DTT standard should support this function... ISDB-T also allows for handheld devices such as cellphones to receive DTT signal with no extra cost; is superior in terms of transmission capability, interactivity, accessibility and possibilities for middleware development (data casting of news items, weather updates, traffic situations, stock market, can be integrated seamlessly with video transmission),” it said. 
It added that ISDB-T signal is more robust against impulse noise, and that its set-top boxes are more affordable. “Also, the adoption of ISDB-T will open the opportunity for the small players to avail of financial assistance that the Japanese government is offering in terms of soft loan with very low interest plus technical assistance,” it said. - Mary Ann Ll. Reyes, dated 3 August 2011,  12:00 AM
Source: Philippine Star 

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Inquirer: Gozon: GMA 7 can go digital anytime

Atty. Felipe Gozon and Mr. Gilberto R. Duavit, both GMA Network executives, stated each and every point on GMA Network's migration to digital terrestrial television is possible within any time of the day. But still insisted on opting European DTV standard DVB-T2 as their choice.

According to them, we should have to consider the market profile. But to think DVB-T2 has more expensive converter boxes to date, compared to the Japanese ISDB-T boxes, the switch to digital television could be more rough than we expect when we go the expensive one. Technically speaking, DVB-T2 has the capabilities to go 12-14 channels in one 6-MHz frequency, but ISDB-T's offering, which is capable of 8 channels per frequency, is good enough to a broadcast network that will offer multichannel contents. Read the article after the break,.
Felipe L. Gozon, chairman and chief executive officer of GMA 7, wants to make it crystal clear: “We are ready to go digital. We can do it anytime.” 
But before the Kapuso network can make the big leap, the government has to finalize which standard the local broadcast industry would follow: European or Japanese. 
(ABS-CBN, chief rival of GMA 7, has adopted the Japanese standard, the choice of the Kapisanan ng mga Broadkaster ng Pilipinas, and as earlier decided by the National Telecommunications Commission.) 
The decision is currently under review, Gozon said. According to studies conducted by GMA 7, he noted, “the European standard seems better.” 
‘Vastly superior’ 
Gilberto R. Duavit Jr., network president and chief operating officer, explained that the European standard is “vastly superior, technically… particularly in terms of number of channels it can offer.” 
Whereas the Japanese standard can accommodate eight channels per frequency, Duavit said, the European standard can offer 12 to 14. 
Although European converter boxes can be more expensive than its Japanese equivalent, Duavit predicted that the price of the former would eventually fall (by the end of the year) as a result of increasing demand. 
“India adopted the European standard,” Duavit related. “The more evolved TV markets have made the same choice.” 
Gozon is gung-ho about going digital because it can open up the industry to other methods of signal delivery, apart from the traditional TV set. 
“GMA 7 will become multiplatform. Kapuso shows will be seen on mobile phones, on PCs and laptops,” Gozon said. 
However, he added, the more crucial question is sustainability. “Can the local market support the switch to digital technology?” 
Duavit agreed: “We have to consider the market profile.” 
At present, 90 percent of televiewers are from the C, D and E sectors; only a minority belongs to the A-B crowd, which is the prospective target of digital technology. 
Duavit asserted that producing shows with digital technology could be costly. 
“High-definition and digital technology require special lights and makeup. It would entail extended taping schedules because setting up the lights on the set would take longer,” Duavit also pointed out. 
Duavit said the current TV fare of soap operas and talk shows doesn’t require high-definition technology. 
Still, Gozon said, the Kapuso team could meet the challenge of providing content to the additional channels that would inevitably come with the digital switch. - Bayani San Diego, dated  1 August 2011, 09:14 PM