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Monday, November 06, 2006


Regulator orders shift
to digital television by 2015

By Darwin G. Amojelar, Reporter

THE Philippine government will terminate analog television (TV) service by 2015 as the industry migrates into Digital terrestrial TV (DTT), according to the draft memorandum circular released by the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC).

The document said all analog TV broadcast transmission will be terminated by 11:59 p.m. on December 31, 2015, requiring television service providers to migrate to DTT by that time.

Digital TV is a telecommunication system for broadcasting that receives digital sound and video signals that require a specially designed TV set that is much more advanced than the traditional analog TV box for content viewing.

�The commission believes that with the anticipated features of the DTT platform, analog TV technology will soon be rendered obsolete. It is projected that manufacturers will eventually stop producing analog TV receivers and that analog TV will ultimately be completely supplanted by DTT,� the document said.

The new system does traditional TV better in image, sound and clarity, and has the ability to manage many channels cramped together in one bandwidth as well as carry electronic program guides and interactive programs.

The NTC, however, said it is aware that the transition to DTT platform will be dependent on market, economic and other conditions.

After the migration, the NTC noted it will recall of the analog frequencies, which is given temporary privilege of using the same.

The NTC document also said that it is likely to adopt European Digital Video Broadcasting-Terrestrial (DVB-T) standard because it is emerging as the global preference.

In terms of frequency bands, the NTC will use channels 14 to 20 (470-512 MHz) for national DTT networks (i.e., SFN) and channels 21 to 51 (512- 698 MHz) for local networks (area-specific DTT service providers).

The NTC added that applicants having an actual operation of at least 15 TV stations nationwide and at least 10 regions must have a minimum paid-up capitalization of P1 billion.

For applicants with less than 15 operational, it must have P1.2 billion and for new applicants it must have a minimum paid-up capitalization of P1.5 billion.

The NTC also said that applicants intending to provide local DTT service shall have a local congressional broadcast franchise; minimum paid-up capitalization of P60 million per DTT station and has the technical capability to install, operate and maintain the proposed DTT network.

Earlier, ABS-CBN Broadcasting Corp. said it will roll out digital TV service by middle of 2007 and allotted P1 billion as initial funds.

Eugenio �Gabby� L. Lopez 3rd, ABS-CBN chairman and chief executive officer, said digital TV broadcasting will allow the network to open 14 to 15 additional free TV channels since digital TV frequencies can carry more programs in one UHF frequency range.

Other broadcasting companies have applied for DTT include GMA Network Inc., ABC-5 Broadcasting Corp., National Broadcasting Network and GV Broadcasting System Inc.



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