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