ABS-CBN suggests subsidies for digital TV shift

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ABS-CBN Broadcasting Corp. said that the government needs to subsidize the delivery of digital terrestrial TV services to facilitate the entry of digital broadcast services into the country.

“It happened in I think in Japan and the United States [US], when there was a shift a lot of the people experienced blackout in their TV sets, so the government had to subsidize these boxes, we’ll see,” said Ronaldo Valdueza, chief financial officer of ABS-CBN.

Earlier, the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) said that the agency would likely issue the memorandum circular for the Standard for Digital Terrestrial Television (DTT) Broadcast Service in December.

NTC said that the major players in the industry did not oppose the adoption of Japan’s Integrated Service Digital Broadcasting-Terrestrial, or ISDB-T standard.


The telecom regulator said that out of the industry led by rivals ABS-CBN Corp. and GMA Network Inc. was well represented during the public hearings on the matter.

NTC said that the proponents raised some clarifications on some provisions, particularly on definitions in the proposed memorandum circular.

Switch to digital broadcasting
The regulator will issue the circular next month, paving the way for the creation of a technical working group that would craft the implementing rules and regulations starting December.

Digital television is an innovative transmitting technology that has transformed television-viewing experience. It has enabled broadcasters to offer television with better picture and sound quality. It also offers multiple programming choices.

In April 2011, the NTC ordered all broadcasting companies in the Philippines to shut off their analog signal by December 2015 and switch to digital broadcast.

On March 27, 2011, the local regulator ordered an evaluation of the standard to be used by the Philippines for digital television, and is reconsidering the second generation Digital Video Broadcasting from Europe.

But the Philippines will be using the Japanese Terrestrial Integrated Services Digital Broadcasting protocol to facilitate the country’s transition to digital television, rather than the Advanced Television System Committee system implemented by North American broadcasters devised as a replacement for the National Television System Committee system utilized by North America and the Philippines.

The NTC chose the Japanese standard because it is cheaper than Europe’s Digital Video Broadcasting-Terrestrial 2, or DVB-T2. The Philippines will be the first in Asia to adopt the Japanese standard for digital TV.

“Well whichever, we’re OK with both, whether it’s a Japanese or European technology. Well, right now based on the tactical studies, the Japanese technology its cheaper, and some other functionalities like this, the early warning system when there is an earthquake, I think in Japan, they send warning signal to the people so that what we want also,” said Valdueza.

The Lopez-led company has invested close to P2 billion for shifting to the digital TV format.

Meanwhile, GMA Network Inc. earlier said that except for the transmitter, all of GMA’s equipment are 90-percent digital.

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