Japanese standard favored in planned shift to digital TV

BusinessWorld

Posted at Jun 11 2010 12:27 PM | Updated as of Jun 12 2010 02:28 AM

MANILA, Philippines - Regulators are leaning toward the Japanese standard for digital television, releasing a draft circular yesterday recommending the adoption of the Integrated Services Digital Broadcast-Terrestrial or ISDB-T system.

The move is in line with the positions taken by the country’s top television networks, ABS-CBN Broadcasting Corp. and GMA Network, Inc., which have expressed preference for the Japanese standard -- which is being widely adopted in South America -- over a European one. Japanese makers of set-top boxes that will be required for non-digital TVs have pledged to put up a manufacturing plant here to cut prices.

The draft circular adopting the Japanese standard for Digital Terrestrial Television Broadcast Services will undergo public hearings starting today.

The National Telecommunications Commission’s (NTC) draft order was made following recommendations from two technical groups and the Kapisanan ng mga Brodkaster ng Pilipinas.

"The introduction of digital technology in the broadcasting service would ensure the competitiveness of the broadcast industry and afford them the opportunity to provide enhanced services to better serve the viewing public," the draft circular states.

The government is eyeing a switch to digital TV by 2015.

In 2006, the NTC released a memorandum saying the country would be using the European standard for digital television. The NTC later deferred this, saying more consultations were needed.

A key issue is whether the government will subsidize the cost of set-top boxes.