On November 2006, the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) released a draft guideline – after a long study – of what type of Digital TV standard to use. They choose DVB-T (DVB is the European lead Standard for Digital TV). However, when a new NTC commisioner was appointed, another study of other possible standards to be used was conceptualized.
This somewhat irked the Kapisanan ng mga Broadcasters ng Pilipinas (KBP) and said:
Armand Ursal, KBP’s Technical Committee Chairman, who sat in both Technical Working Groups said that the private television broadcast industry and the technical staff of the NTC had recommended the European standard (DVB-T). However, there is reportedly a strong lobby for the American and Japanese standards. Most countries in the world, and all countries in Asia, except for China and Japan, have already decided in favor of the European standard. Ursal said that the widespread adoption of DVB-T ensures a very low price for the set-up box or receiver for digital television.
On May 2007, the Asociation of South East Asian Nations has also chosen DVB-T as the standard.
Current Developments with Digital TV in the Philippines:
- ABS-CBN applied for the digital television-terrestrial service (DTT) license to the National Telecommunications Commission NTC that will switch off its analogue broadcast (Channel 2 Manila) as early as 2010. ABS-CBN has recently been experimenting the transmission of digital signals on Channel 51.
- The Associated Broadcasting Company (ABC-5, now TV5) have also expressed their intention of switching their current analogue television broadcast set-up (DWET-TV 5). They are testing DVB-H on Channel 47.
- But,in November 2007 (a year after adoption), NTC announced that it will consider other standards for replacing DVB-T because of the new NTC Commissioner,Ruel V. Canobas.
- ISDB-T was already testing by government-owned TV stations and GEMTV 49 of Iglesia ni Cristo has also made a test broadcast using the same channel last October,2008. It is unclear if the Philippines will also conduct test broadcasts using ATSC.
- The Philippines is currently testing multiple DTT standards,and the launching date will start on or before 2010 or until NTC decided which standard will be used nationwide.
- GMA Network and Quality Television planed to test broadcast of digital television nationwide and to be completed in 2011 or 2012.
- Digital Television in the Philippines is now currently in test broadcast scenario.Solar entertainment corporation planned 3 Solar’s terrestrial channels aired in digital and by 2015 The Philippines will cease all analog broadcast to move in digital television. Another big media outfit, GMA Network also plans to test DVB-H in Manila, as demand for content on mobile phones increases.
- Digital-television launched many Cable TV companies such as SkyCable, Global Destiny Cable, Cablelink and some major cable TV companies in the Provinces, such as Negros Province, Cebu, Iloilo, Palawan, CALABARZON, Central Luzon, Ilocos Province, Davao, Misamis Province and Zamboanga, will announced by 2008 or 2009.
- NTC will permanently terminate all analogue TV stations on December 31, 2015.
Recently All Asia Broadcast Systems Inc said that it had plans to put up DVB-T transmitters in Metro Manila with a total cost of $2 Million.
In a more recent news, Japan is offering ISDB to the Philippines: “We are willing to support DTV (digital TV) implementation in the Philippines. We could provide financial and technical assistance,” – GMA News
DBV-T vs ISDB-T
I will post here the findings of GEMTV during their test of DVB-t and ISDB-t (and ISDB-T ONE SEG – to know more about what ONE SEG means, go here)
Oks, so in simple analysis, the table shows that we can get a good reception on both DVB-T and ISDB-T within 10km from the transmitter or up to 15km using ISDB-T ONE SEG. And it can’t go as far as 25 km. Hmmm.. WiMax can go as far as 30km right?
(note: secure a copy of the GEMTV findings to get more information on the results)
So another standard that the NTC is looking at using is the ATSC. According to the ATSC Forum:
The European system does not work well in VHF channels and even some low UHF channels, due to impulse noise impairments (interference caused by electrical power lines, household appliances, automobile engines, etc.). With the ATSC system, the Philippines can use the full VHF and UHF spectrum for DTV assignments, dramatically increasing its ability to accommodate all broadcasters in the transition to digital transmission, and increasing the amount of UHF spectrum that can ultimately be recovered and reused for other valuable purposes.
The experience in Singapore also raises questions regarding how much credit the DVB-T standard should be given for “proven mobile capability.” In this case, 13 DVB-T transmitters are required on Singapore just to cover the bus routes on that small island, and we understand that the associated audio has to be simulcast via FM radio, due to the poor reception quality of the DVB-T signal.
Part two of this post next.