GMA7, ABS-CBN, TV5 shifting to digital TV

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The Philippines’ three biggest television networks are upgrading their broadcast systems to Digital Terrestrial Television Broadcast (DTTB) from analog to comply with the technological requirements of the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC).

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In a filing with the NTC, GMA Network Inc. sought approval for the conversion of its VHF TV broadcast station in Quezon City from analog to digital terrestrial TV.

“Pursuant to NTC Memorandum Circular No 07-12-2014, GMA respectfully manifests its intention to convert its analog TV service to DTTB service utilizing the prescribed technological parameters set forth by the Honorable Commission,” GMA said in its letter to the NTC.

In 2014, the NTC issued the implementing rules of an order that all broadcast companies in the country must adopt the Japanese standard’s Integrated Services Digital Broadcasting—Terrestrial (ISDB-T) technology, the most advanced international standard on DTTB, for the rollout of their digital TV service.

The Commission’s initiative seeks to implement the transition from analog to digital TV at the “earliest practicable time.”

“GMA remains legally, financially and technically qualified to maintain and operate the proposed DTTB service,” the TV network said, adding that it is working to comply with the implementing rules and regulations and related guidelines on the transition set by the NTC.

ABS-CBN Broadcasting Corp. is also proposing to operate its existing UHF frequency Channel 23 TV station in Metro Manila in digital terrestrial TV service mode using the ISDB-T technology, which is the most advanced international standard on DTTB.

The proposal by the Lopez-owned ABS-CBN Network is to put up a single frequency network (SFN) of five transmitter sites, including the existing transmitter site of its analog service in Quezon City. The others will be placed in Guiguinto Bulacan, Silang Cavite,
Makati and Mandaluyong cities, which cover 95 percent of its service coverage areas with fixed antenna reception.

The transmission is designed so that fixed reception for 99 percent availability is achieved with Metro Manila area.

ABS-CBN presently operates the DWAC-TV station at UHF Channel 23 as an analog service. The NTC assigned the same channel for its DTT service.

ABS-CBN will use the existing analog transmitter site in Quezon City for the DTT service, as well as new sites in Guiguinto Bulacan, Silang Cavite, Makati and Mandaluyong.

Likewise, TV5 owner ABC Development Corp. is seeking approval for the conversion of its UFH TV broacast station in San Jose Occidental Mindoro, Kalibo in Aklan, Roxas City Capiz, Puerto Princesa, Palawan, Aparri in Cagayan and Vigan, Ilocos Norte, Iligan, Isabela, Olongapo City in Zambales, Tacloban City, Borongan Eastern Samar, Dipolog City in Zamboanga del Norte. Its document shows “the applicant manifests its intention to convert its analog television service to DTTB service utilizing the prescribed technological parameters by the NTC and it undertakes to comply with the legal, economic and financial conditions and requirements set forth in the IRR for DTTB, and such other guidelines shall be issued by the Honorable Commission to effect the migration and conversion of analog television to DTTB service.”

The company also said it is “legally, financially and technically qualified to continue the operation of the UFH Television Broadcast Station utilizing DTTB service.

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