Philippines ISDB-T

Philippines ISDB-T

Rules out for broadcast firms' shift to digital TV service

MANILA - Broadcast companies can start rolling out their digital TV service next month after the government issued the rules for their migration from analogue.

Under the National Telecommunications Commission's (NTC) implementing rules and regulations (IRR), Japan's Integrated Services Digital Broadcast-Terrestrial (ISDB-T) standard should be the sole standard in the delivery of digital TV service in the Philippines.

A bandwidth of 6 megahertz shall be assigned for each authorized digital terrestrial TV (DTT) provider for every service area. The NTC also allocated the frequency bands 512-698 Mhz (Channels 21 to 51) for DTT.

"A duly authorized DTT service provider shall be have the option in its application to the Commission to adopt either single or multi-program HDTV format or single or multi-program SDTV format or any combination thereof for its digital service," NTC said, adding that any subsequent change in the program format shall require the regulator's approval.

The agency said the provision of new programs, including high-definition (HD) programs are encouraged in addition to analog legacy programs.

Philippines ISDB-T

The rules provide that the transition and migration from analog TV to DTT service shall be based on a transition plan formulated by the NTC in consultation with the broadcast industry.

"The migration plan is a comprehensive plan that intends to address the policy, regulatory and technical issues as well as fiscal considerations for country's migration to digital TV broadcasting, including the date for the planned ASO [analog shut-off]," NTC said.

No analog TV operation shall be allowed after ASO, which NTC will set.

Dealers of brand new TV receiving sets shall indicate in each TV set whether the same can receive analog signal only and will require a set top box or whether the same can receive ISDB-T programs.

Free-to-air TV or non-cable households comprise 90 percent of the Philippines' 17 million viewers.

The regulator in 2010 issued an order adopting ISDB-T as the standard and released a draft IRR in July 2011, but Malacañang ordered a review of Europe's Digital Video Broadcasting-Terrestrial 2 (DVB-T2).

In November last year, the NTC issued Memorandum Circular No. 05-11-2013, adopting Japan's ISDB-T standard for the Philippines' migration to digital TV.

The NTC order came on the heels of President Benigno Aquino III's promise to Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe during a state visit that the Philippines would choose Japan's standard over that of Europe.

Besides Japan, other countries that use ISDB-T are Brazil, Peru, Chile, Venezuela, Ecuador, Costa Rica and Paraguay. 

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