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ASEAN picks DVB-T as common TV standard

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Friday, 15 June 2007
JAKARTA – The ASEAN Ministers Responsible for Information (AMRI) made a decision to endorse the digital video broadcast-terrestrial (DVB-T) standard as the ASEAN common digital terrestrial TV broadcast standard during its ninth conference last month. The mainisters at the conference were from Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.

According to a statement released by the organisation, the ministers “acknowledged that digital broadcasting will usher in a new era of growth and investment in this sector and welcomed the progress of the ASEAN Digital Broadcasting (ADB) cooperation”.

It further noted that the DVB-T standard was the most commonly adopted international DTV standard, thus it “would offer the most advantages in terms of economies of scale, ease of adoption and versatility for multiple platforms”.

Brunei, which has been active in pushing for the adoption of a common digital broadcast standard, said the move “will definitely lower the unit cost of set-top boxes (STBs) and TV receivers, which would make digital technology affordable to all ASEAN masses”.

The Asia-Pacific Broadcasting Union (ABU) also welcomed the decision. ABU secretary-general David Astley said: “The decision is a significant step forward for the broadcasters serving more than 400 million people in the ASEAN countries. The decision on the standard for terrestrial DTV now allows the broadcasters to confidently plan to convert their services to DTV.”

Astley added that the consumer will benefit from this decision to have a common standard across much of the Asia-Pacific region as this would lead to the mass production of STBs, thus leading to cheaper prices.

“The decision by the ASEAN countries to adopt the DVB-T standard is likely to encourage many other Asia-Pacific countries to select this standard too,” he said.

During the conference, the ministers also agreed that ASEAN undertake further discussions on the detailed policy considerations in planning for analogue switch-offs. The ministers took note of the proposal by some ASEAN member countries for the group to work towards 2015 as a common switch-off date, subject to the ability of individual member countries, given their geographical and human resource challenges.

Peter MacAvock, executive director of the DVB Project, which developed the DVB-T standard, said: “The DVB Project is delighted to hear the news of the recent adoption of the DVB-T standard by the ASEAN countries as their digital terrestrial TV system. DTV brings many challenges and opportunities to the industry, and the choice of DVB-T is an endorsement of the DVB’s open, market-led approach to developing standards.”

The ASEAN ministers said member countries would also develop a detailed DTV development work plan and set up specialist working groups to oversee the process.

ASEAN members further agree that developments in this field must take into account the technical infrastructure of each member country and the need for these members to support each other.

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