Full migration to digital TV completed in 10 years–NTC

By Lenie Lectura, Business Mirror

Posted at Dec 29 2010 11:45 PM | Updated as of Dec 30 2010 07:45 AM

MANILA, Philippines - Full migration to digital television in the country will take place 10 years from now, the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) has said.

“Another bold stride the NTC has taken this year was to commence the transition of the broadcast industry from analog to digital. The NTC estimates full migration from analog to digital tv technology within the next 5-10 years,” the regulator said in its yearend report.

The NTC has now been given the go-ahead by the Commission on Information and Communications Technology (CICT) to convene a technical working group for the purpose of drafting the Implementing Rules and Regulation (IRR) for digital TV.? The TWG will be composed of members from the broadcast industry and other stakeholders such as the government, suppliers and consumers.

In June of this year, the NTC dumped the European standard for digital television in favor of Japan’s Integrated Services Digital Broadcast (ISDB) technology as the standard for Digital Terrestrial Television (DTT) broadcast service. ?But this can’t be fully implemented yet without the IRR. ?The NTC should first convene a TWG to craft the IRR and frequency planning for the implementation of the ISDB technology.

“An overwhelming consensus and endorsement among the various industry stakeholders was submitted to the Commission which bore Memorandum Circular 02-06-2010 on ‘Standard for Digital Terrestrial Television (DTT) Broadcast Service’ adopting the ISDB-T platform,” said the NTC.

When DTT technology is enforced in the country, there is a need to switch off all analog TV handsets. The switch-off would render all nondigital TV sets obsolete unless connected to an external off-the-air tuner, or a satellite system.??

The government is looking at delaying the compulsory transition of all analog television service providers to digital TV and for the termination of all analog TV broadcast transmissions from an earlier target set at the end of year 2015.

The Kapisanan ng mga Brodkaster ng Pilipinas (KBP) has an interest in the formulation of the IRR and the frequency planning as these will have immediate, medium- and long-term effects on the operation of its members.

“Our members have already been preparing for the migration to digital TV. Capital expenditures have been budgeted and to a certain degree outlaid, notwithstanding uncertainties due to the absence of an IRR and frequency plan,” it has said.