Decision on digital TV standard seen by mid-2012
January 23, 2012
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