THE Philippines’ shift to digital television (TV) is on track amid broadcast giants’ efforts to offer digital set-top boxes to Filipino households, a government official said recently.
Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) Acting Chief Eliseo Rio Jr. is optimistic that the country will fully embrace digital terrestrial television broadcasting (DTTB) by 2023.
“Big TV stations have started to migrate [to digital TV broadcasting],” Rio told reporters last week following a public hearing on rules on the government’s common tower policy.
He noted that the government was yet to receive any sign from media leaders ABS-CBN and GMA that they would not be able to meet the goal.
When the industry realizes that 95 percent of households have access to DTTB by that period, analog TV will have a complete shutdown, the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) had said.
It was in 2013 when the NTC chose to adopt Japan’s Integrated Service Digital Broadcasting-Terrestrial (ISDB-T) standard.
Both broadcasters have been expanding the reach of the new technology, with ABS-CBN leading the race.
The Kapamilya network said it already sold 5.5 million units as of July, three years after the launch of ABS-CBN TVplus.
GMA, meanwhile, revealed in May that it had allotted P700 million for its foray into the digital television business.
“When our digitization project is complete, we will cover 83 percent of the Philippines with our digital signal,” Felipe Gozon, GMA chairman and chief executive officer, said in a disclosure.
The GMA chief added that GMA would release its “smaller and cheaper” digital device versus the rival’s in the local market, targeting to sell a million units this year.