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KBP favors Japan platform for digital TV

MANILA, Philippines — The latest European platform for Digital Terrestrial Television (DTT) is superior to Japan’s technology, but regulators should give priority to affordability when making the much-awaited decision of which standard the country should adopt, the Kapisanan ng mga Brodkaster sa Pilipinas (KBP) has said.

The technical advantages offered by Europe’s DVB-T2 system are, after all, “irrelevant to the most important stakeholder in the project, the Filipino consumer,” who is “is entitled to clearer and better quality TV experience through an affordable migration to DTT,” said the self-regulatory broadcast body’s position paper, submitted to the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) last week.

A technical review of the European platform had held up the release by NTC of its implementing rules and regulations for migrating to DTT, since a final decision on which DTT standard will be adopted by the country is part of the process. 

The KBP and the state channel National Broadcasting Network have recommended Japan’s ISDB-T over Europe’s DVB-T2, stressing that consumers would have to pay more for the set top boxes if the DVB-T2 were adopted.

“The set top-top box for DVB-T2 (MPEG 4) is substantially higher than ISDB-T (MPEG 4) with a price difference of almost US$20,” said the KBP. Indefinitely waiting for the DVB-T2 system to become affordable to consumers will be disadvantageous to all, it added.

Besides the high rollout cost, broadcasters are also concerned about when the SO (analogue shut off) will take place, said KBP.

To ensure that the public gets free TV service during the transition from analogue to digital TV, broadcasters are compelled to operate both  analogue and digital networks. 

Broadcasters, according to KBP, will benefit from an earlier ASO because that wipes out the operating cost of its analogue transmitter. “This brings back the need for lower set top boxes.  Experience of countries that migrated to DTT clearly established the direct correlation between the cost of STB and the rate of take-up and ultimately the ASO. With a lower cost of the STB, the higher the take-up rate and consequently, the earlier the ASO,” explained the KBP.

The number of manufacturers is also tied to the concern over the cost of the boxes. There is only one manufacturer of DVB-T2 set top boxes but several for ISDB-T, according to KBP.

The Philippines, meanwhile, will also benefit from opting for the Japanese standard because of the assistance committed by Japan, said KBP.

Such assistance includes: the development, free of charge, of a frequency plan for the Philippine government by the Japanese government; the government-to-government support in terms of loans in order to give state-run stations the funds to develop and deliver digital broadcasting; and low-interest loans for Philippine broadcasters implementing their individual DTT plans with ISDB-T.

The KBP urged the regulators to consider well “the commitments and support of the ISDB-T stakeholders, especially the Japanese government, to the NTC for the seamless transition to DTT.” Such aid saves the government a lot of resources in terms of “the NTC funds that would otherwise be spent for technical assistance and support from third party suppliers,” said the KBP.

No similar commitments were offered by the stakeholders of the DVB-T2 system.

“These three abovementioned points are vital services that will make the take-up of ISDB-T go faster. This will in turn make better business sense for broadcasters as it will lessen the return on investment time once the take-up rate is hastened and ASO is attained,” added KBP.

 

InterAksyon.com
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