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Japanese standard endorsed for use in digital TV system




Posted on May 24, 2012


THE SCIENCE and Technology department has endorsed to Malacañang the adoption of the Japanese standard for digital television in a migration plan needed to finalize long-awaited implementing rules.

"If you look at the technical details and consider the country’s [economic] condition, what we need is a Japanese model," Louis Napoleon C. Casambre, executive director of the agency’s Information and Communications Technology Office (ICTO), said in a telephone interview last Monday.

EASIER TO USE

The migration plan submitted to the Office of the President "a few weeks ago" took into consideration ease of use as well, Mr. Casambre added.

"The Japanese is a more appropriate model. While the European model has higher modulation, it has more complicated modulation techniques," he said in weighing the differences between the Japanese Integrated Services Digital Broadcasting-Terrestrial (ISDB-T) standard against Europe’s Digital Video Broadcasting (DVB) technology.

Malacañang ordered the ICTO last year to draft the migration plan to aid the government in deciding which standard to use in the country’s shift to digital TV, Mr. Casambre said.

IMPLEMENTING RULES NEXT

The National Telecommunications Commission (NTC), which had earlier been tasked to recommend the digital TV standard, last week said it was instead waiting for President Benigno Simeon S. C. Aquino III to approve the ICTO’s migration plan.

NTC Commissioner Gamaliel A. Cordoba told BusinessWorld the economic managers will then take part in the crafting of the implementing rules and regulations since the shift to the digital platform "will have a big economic impact."

"We are just waiting for the [ICTO] and economic managers’ advice as to when will be our next meeting," he added.

Mr. Cordoba went on to echo that the Japanese model would be cheaper to implement.

"The European [model] is good technologically wise," Mr. Cordoba said.

"The Japanese [model has] has less technological advantages but it is cheaper."

PREPARED

According to, Messrs. Casabre and Cordoba, the migration plan includes the pricing of equipment that TV networks need to roll out, channel planning, and how the transition to digital TV will be implemented per area in the country.

Sought for comment, senior executives of the country’s top broadcasters said they were prepared to shift to digital TV.

"Whether it is a Japanese or a European model, we are ready. That is why we have allotted P700 million for the equipment," Rolando P. Valdueza, ABS-CBN Corp.’s chief financial officer, said at the sidelines of the company’s financial briefing last week.

"Our network upgrade has been geared [towards the adoption] of the digital television," Gilberto R. Duavit, Jr., GMA Network, Inc. president and chief operating officer, said separately in a financial briefing last week.

The ICTO endorsement backs the Kapisanan ng mga Brokaster ng Pilipinas (KBP) and an NTC technical working group’s recommendation last year to adopt the Japanese model.

KBP had said that the Japanese model is cheaper. It noted DVB-T2 set-top boxes, which are required to enable analog TV sets to receive digital signals, cost 60% more than ISDB-T boxes.

However, the House of Representatives Committee on Information and Communication Technology in March last year asked a review of which standard to adopt, arguing the upgraded European standard (DVB-2) was not assessed in the review conducted in 2010.

Mr. Cordoba said that while the first-half target will not be met for the release of the implementing rules and regulations, the issuance of such rules "will not go beyond this year." -- Cliff Harvey C. Venzon