ABS-CBN to roll out DTV digibox

By TJ Manotoc, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Apr 04 2011 11:34 PM | Updated as of Apr 07 2011 01:21 AM

Set to launch 5 new premium channels on free TV

MANILA - ABS-CBN Corporation is ready to launch 5 new premium TV channels on free-to-air TV within the year as response to the market's need for niche programs and for better picture and sound quality.

To carry out this undertaking, the Kapamilya network will utilize Digital Television (DTV), a high-tech standard that uses digital signals for broadcast of free-to-air content.

The technology entails the purchase of an affordably-priced DTV Digibox to be connected to any television set. This Digibox will serve as the viewer's gateway to enjoying new channels that ABS-CBN has developed to cater to preferences of different market segments. 

The new channels to be made available include 2 channels for kids, a channel for the youth, a channel for dads and a channel for moms.

According to Miguel Mercado, head of marketing of ABS-CBN DTV, ABS-CBN is ready to launch its DTV operations within the year.  He said the company is just waiting for the final go-signal from the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC).

"With Philippine broadcasting companies going digital, the viewing public will be able enjoy digital quality viewing in any TV as DTV addresses the issues of poor reception, grainy pictures and choppy audio," said Mercado.

"Viewers will also get to enjoy five new channels for free. These are in addition to getting all existing channels that will be broadcasting in digital, which upon our launch, will include Channel 2, Studio 23, GEM TV and NBN. Once the NTC gives a go signal, we are sure that the other stations will be ready to broadcast their current channels on DTV as well," added Mercado

The directive for the Philippines to go digital is up to par with the international standard, as more and more countries are switching from analog to digital TV.
Some of the countries that have adopted DTV include the U.S., China, Japan, Australia, South Korea, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Finland, Sweden, Norway, Switzerland, Germany, Spain and Denmark.

In the Philippines, the NTC's command is supported by industry organization Kapisanan ng Mga Brodkaster sa Pilipinas (KBP) and the TV networks.

Consumers stand to benefit from the shift to digital TV. Viewers will have more free TV channels to choose from, and they will get clearer picture and sound compared to the prevailing analog system.

Since 2007, ABS-CBN has been laying the groundwork for this new technology. The network's DTV system is in place and is prepared to rollout within the second half of the year.

More recently, ABS-CBN conducted DTV trials in more than 1,000 households all over the Philippines. The studies generated very positive feedback.

Respondents were thrilled with the wider array of programs and raved about the impeccable picture and sound.

Speaking in Filipino, a 37-year-old dad commented, "It's clearer and there are more channels to choose from. My family is happier as we watch together."

A 26-year-old lady said, "The picture and the sound are clearer."

The trials also showed that DTV's appeal cuts across ages, as one 67-year-old grandmother declared, "There are more shows to watch for the delight of the entire family."

Unlike cable or satellite TV with regular fees, DTV requires only the purchase of the Digibox, which costs only as much as a DVD player. This prompted a 28-year-old mom to say, "There are no monthly fees, just a one-time payment. My child will surely like this."

The network's study also revealed that viewers will definitely buy the set top box in order to get the new channels for free.

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