Monday, May 21, 2012

Business World: Japanese standard endorsed for use in digital TV system

THE SCIENCE and Technology department has endorsed to Malacañang the adoption of the Japanese standard for digital television in a migration plan needed to finalize long-awaited implementing rules.

"If you look at the technical details and consider the country’s [economic] condition, what we need is a Japanese model," Louis Napoleon C. Casambre, executive director of the agency’s Information and Communications Technology Office (ICTO), said in a telephone interview last Monday.


The migration plan submitted to the Office of the President "a few weeks ago" took into consideration ease of use as well, Mr. Casambre added.

"The Japanese is a more appropriate model. While the European model has higher modulation, it has more complicated modulation techniques," he said in weighing the differences between the Japanese Integrated Services Digital Broadcasting-Terrestrial (ISDB-T) standard against Europe’s Digital Video Broadcasting (DVB) technology.

Malacañang ordered the ICTO last year to draft the migration plan to aid the government in deciding which standard to use in the country’s shift to digital TV, Mr. Casambre said.


The National Telecommunications Commission (NTC), which had earlier been tasked to recommend the digital TV standard, last week said it was instead waiting for President Benigno Simeon S. C. Aquino III to approve the ICTO’s migration plan.

NTC Commissioner Gamaliel A. Cordoba told BusinessWorld the economic managers will then take part in the crafting of the implementing rules and regulations since the shift to the digital platform "will have a big economic impact."

"We are just waiting for the [ICTO] and economic managers’ advice as to when will be our next meeting," he added.

Mr. Cordoba went on to echo that the Japanese model would be cheaper to implement.

"The European [model] is good technologically wise," Mr. Cordoba said.
"The Japanese [model has] has less technological advantages but it is cheaper."


According to, Messrs. Casabre and Cordoba, the migration plan includes the pricing of equipment that TV networks need to roll out, channel planning, and how the transition to digital TV will be implemented per area in the country.

Sought for comment, senior executives of the country’s top broadcasters said they were prepared to shift to digital TV.

"Whether it is a Japanese or a European model, we are ready. That is why we have allotted P700 million for the equipment," Rolando P. Valdueza, ABS-CBN Corp.’s chief financial officer, said at the sidelines of the company’s financial briefing last week.

"Our network upgrade has been geared [towards the adoption] of the digital television," Gilberto R. Duavit, Jr., GMA Network, Inc. president and chief operating officer, said separately in a financial briefing last week.

The ICTO endorsement backs the Kapisanan ng mga Brokaster ng Pilipinas (KBP) and an NTC technical working group’s recommendation last year to adopt the Japanese model.

KBP had said that the Japanese model is cheaper. It noted DVB-T2 set-top boxes, which are required to enable analog TV sets to receive digital signals, cost 60% more than ISDB-T boxes.

However, the House of Representatives Committee on Information and Communication Technology in March last year asked a review of which standard to adopt, arguing the upgraded European standard (DVB-2) was not assessed in the review conducted in 2010.

Mr. Cordoba said that while the first-half target will not be met for the release of the implementing rules and regulations, the issuance of such rules "will not go beyond this year." - Cliff Harvey C. Venzon, dated 23 May 2012.

Source: Business World

Friday, March 23, 2012

ABS-CBN gives name to DTV Digibox called TV+, gives each studio audience a try


Last March 22, ABS-CBN via its morning show Umagang Kay Ganda launched its digital terrestrial TV set-top box called the TV+. The TV+ is the network’s official market name of their DTV Digibox, which will be commercially available as soon as the government, particularly the NTC, gives its go signal to formally commence the digital terrestrial television in the country.


We regret to have a record out of it, but thanks to our avid follower TheSandies through his Daily Motion, he shared with us among the DTV Pilipinas followers a short clip of Umagang Kay Ganda discussing the TV+.


On the video, TV show host Andrei Felix introduced Miguel Mercado, head of ABS-CBN Digital Terrestrial TV Marketing, to compare the differences between the analog and digital TV signals. Two TV sets were tuned to same feed from Studio 23, one receiving directly from the antenna (a rabbit-ear antenna, which is common indoor antenna mostly on the urban areas) and the other is receiving from the TV+ box connected to the TV. As for analog, some interferences were visibly seen, like the snowy images and moving lines, due to high interferences of TV signals degraded by billboards and tall buildings. But for digital TV, the feed from Studio 23 looks like a feed from a DVD video, without the snowy images and lines.

43006842_mp4_h264_aac[(002359)21-34-25]     43006842_mp4_h264_aac[(002859)21-34-29]

What defines the TV+ box is it has additional premium channels coming from the ABS-CBN digital TV channel, which was officially shown last year with our article (Read it here). The TV+ is bought for a one-time fee of approximately P 2,500. As of now, ABS-CBN is under test transmission of their DTV service.

43006842_mp4_h264_aac[(003469)21-34-39]     43006842_mp4_h264_aac[(003594)21-34-42]

The TV+ package includes the TV+ box itself, an RCA audio-video connector that will be connected to the TV set, a small indoor antenna that can be magnet-ed on top of the box, and a remote control. Definitely, this TV+ will be available in the retail stores soon, once ABS-CBN has given the signal by the governing body to sell those boxes to households. Currently, the TV+ can receive available digital TV channels free-to-air like ABS-CBN, Studio 23, GEM HD and PTV. Once other TV networks go digital, they can also be received through the TV+.


After the discussion, Felix surprised their studio audience from Brgy. Socorro who each gladly receive a TV+ box to try their own of having a clear and crisp TV signal available in the future.

(To understand more about ABS-CBN’s digital terrestrial TV service, read our previous article here)

Watch the video here:

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Free DTV Digibox Giveaway by DZMM made this morning

ABS-CBN Digital TV Team via DZMM gave away a free DTV Digibox on the segment of "Failon Ngayon sa DZMM", more to come this week. It is part of the network's test broadcast for digital terrestrial television.

It was part of the program’s Mahiwagang Backpack. One was asked about the impeachment trial and then he got his own DTV Digibox from DZMM. The box was given will be the actual commercial product of ABS-CBN’s 5 years of extensive research for digital TV. It will be released once the NTC gives the go signal for them to market the Digibox commercially.

ABS-CBN Digital TV is broadcasting live on UHF TV-43 in Mega Manila, in simulcast with the ABS-CBN Channel 2, Studio 23, and 5 other free TV channels packed in the spectrum.

More info to come by the end of the week.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Business World: ASEAN affirms 2015 switch to digital broadcasts

A 2015 SWITCH to digital from analog broadcasting has been affirmed by the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in line with the bloc’s economic integration schedule.

Ministers who met last week in Kuala Lumpur "endorsed the ‘Guidelines for ASEAN Digital Switch-Over’ which will serve as a shared blueprint to aid all Member States in their transition towards digital broadcasting," the organization said in a statement.

The Philippines, which has yet to decide on which digital standard to adopt, will host a technical working group meeting in the next three months, a Malacañang official said.

The meeting, said Sec. Hermino B. Coloma, Jr. of the Presidential Communications Operations Office, will "flesh out a more comprehensive communication plan for the ASEAN Economic Community."

The communication plan, which will touch digital television broadcasting and social media, aims to establish a strategy for increasing public awareness on efforts to unify the culturally diverse region.

Locally, the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) is said to be planning a second quarter release of implementing rules and regulations (IRR) on the digital shift.

A final choice has not been made between Japan’s integrated services digital broadcast-terrestrial (ISDB-T) and Europe’s digital video broadcasting-terrestrial 2 (DVB-T2) standards. The NTC announced that it had picked ISDB-T but Malacañang subsequently ordered a review.

Mr. Coloma said, "The President [Benigno S. C. Aquino III] directed the NTC and the Information and Communications Technology Office under the DoST (Department of Science and Technology) to formulate a migration plan from analogue to digital regardless of what standard may be adopted".

"The member countries [of ASEAN] are free to adopt the standard that is in accordance to their requirements," Mr. Coloma claimed.

The ASEAN statement, however, noted that the Asian Development Bank (ADB) had described DVB-T2 as a "more advanced technology ... and acknowledge[d] the benefits of migrating directly to DVB-T2".

"The ministers also noted that the ADB will be developing common specifications for DVB-T2 receivers to enjoy economies of scale," it said. – EJD, dated 04 March 2012, 10:49 PM

Source: Business World

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Malaya: NTC targets release of DTT migration rules in second half

THE National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) is set to issue by the second half of the year the implementing rules and regulations (IRR) governing the migration from analog to digital terrestrial television (DTT).

Gamaliel Cordoba, NTC commissioner, said the regulator would issue the IRR after it completes the migration plan and finalizes which standard is best suited for the country.

The NTC and the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) are expected to complete the migration plan in early April.

The rules were supposed to have been issued in June last year, a year after the NTC released Memorandum Circular No. 02-06-2010 choosing Japan’s integrated services digital broadcast-terrestrial (ISDB-T) as the country’s sole standard for DTT.

But Malacañang ordered NTC to conduct another review of the European and Japanese standards to find out which of them is better technically and in terms of cost-effectiveness.

The NTC set up a technical working group composed of stakeholders in the television broadcast industry, including the Kapisanan ng mga Brodkaster ng Pilipinas (KBP) to formulate the IRR for DTT.

Based on the technical working group’s quotation last year, the ISDB-T receiver ranges from $20.50 to $55 per unit, cheaper than the Europe’s digital video broadcasting-terrestrial 2 (DVB-T2), which costs $33.50 to $62.

More than the features of ISDB, the Philippines is seen to benefit from adopting the Japanese standard as Japan has promised to give financial and technical support to the country’s smooth transition to digital TV.

KBP, together with its major broadcast member-firms ABS-CBN Corp. and TV5, favor the Japanese standard because it operates using the affordable set-top boxes.

ABS-CBN and other KBP members Net 25, RPN, IBC 13, Channel 4 and SBN have all undertaken test broadcasts of ISDB-T.

ABS-CBN has soft-launched its digital TV services called DTV, which will help improve its signal and reception.

The network is estimated to spend P3 billion for migration to digital TV, of which it had spent P500 million for the transmitter, acquisitions and film rights.

GMA Network Inc., which is not a member of KBP, prefers Europe’s DVB-T2. The company said its equipment are digital ready so it can migrate any time the regulator gives its go-signal to start migration to digital.

GMA has allocated P600 million for digital TV.

Digital TV is a system of broadcasting and receiving digital sound and video signals that require a specially designed and more advanced TV set than the traditional analog box.

DTT allows a broadcast network to deliver multiple programs on a single channel using one transmitter, so consumers can watch the programs earlier aired at their own time.

The Philippines will be the first in Asia to adopt the Japanese standard for digital TV. Besides Japan, other countries that adopted ISDB-T were Brazil, Peru, Chile, Venzuela, Ecuador, Costa Rica and Paraguay.

The country plans to migrate from analog to digital TV by 2015. – by Myla Iglesias, dated 27 February 2012

Source: Malaya

Monday, January 23, 2012

Business World: Decision on digital TV standard seen by mid-2012

Our first news article for 2012 is simply talking that “history repeats itself”. Last year on the same month, we’ve gone into NTC’s decision on finalizing the country’s migration to digital terrestrial TV standard. And then the delay had happened.

Finally, the National Telecommunications Commission is now ready to concretize the details on the Philippines’ plan for the DTV migration. With the help of DOST, the agencies are furnishing every aspect of the migration plan. We therefore again expecting June of this year, hope it’ll work through. Read the article after the break.

The National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) may arrive at a final decision on which digital television standard to use in the second half of this year, as it has yet to finish a migration plan needed before choosing a standard.

This, as the digital TV migration plan is expected to be completed within the first half of the year, Gamaliel A. Cordoba, NTC commissioner, told BusinessWorld in a phone interview on Friday.

“After finishing the digital TV migration plan, we can move on to choosing the standard. [We’re] hoping we can decide [on a standard] in the second half,” Mr. Cordoba said.

Last August, an NTC technical working group recommended before the agency the adoption of the Japanese Integrated Services Digital Broadcasting-Terrestrial (ISDB-T) standard rather than the European Digital Video Broadcasting (DVB) technology.

After the NTC decides on which digital TV standard to adopt and issues the implementing rules and regulations (IRR) for the technology, broadcasting firms can start rolling out the digital signals alongside analog signals.

This, however, will have to wait until the digital TV migration plan is finished.

“The Department of Science and Technology, assisted by by NTC, is formulating the migration plan from analog TV to digital,” Mr. Cordoba said.

“We hope [the migration plan] will be finished within the first half of the year,” he added.

Last November, the NTC decided to formulate a digital TV migration plan before deciding on which standard to use.

“Through the migration plan, we will be able to foresee issues that may come up in the implementation of the country’s shift to digital TV,” Mr. Cordoba said.

The plan will also include a timetable for the implementation of the shift to digital TV and a listing on how much the government, broadcasting firms, and the public are projected to spend, Mr. Cordoba said.

Government will be spending for the spectrum auction of TV signals, the broadcasting firms will spend for the needed infrastructure in rolling out digital TV signals, and the public will need to purchase set-top boxes or new TV sets, Mr. Cordoba previously said.

In 2010, the country aimed to complete the shift to digital TV by 2015, but the NTC in August last year said it may move the target to a later date as the implementation has been long delayed.

In June 2010, NTC, following unanimous industry support, chose Japan’s standard as the country’s digital TV platform over Europe’s DVB technology.

However, the House Committee on Information and Communication Technology, in March 2011, encouraged a review of which standard to adopt, since the upgraded European standard (DVB-2) was not assessed in last year’s review.

The NTC, then, conducted another review and in August 2011, a technical working group of the agency recommended the adoption of the Japan ISDB-T standard.

Aside from Japan, the ISDB-T has been widely adopted in South America.

Meanwhile, the DVB-2 technology has been adopted in Europe, states in South Africa, India, Singapore, and Sri Lanka among others. On the other hand, there are 119 countries that have adopted the first generation European standard, according to the DVB Project Web site. – Kathleen A. Martin, dated 23 January 2012, 12:05 AM

Source: Business World