GMA bats for European digital TV standard
Broadcast giant GMA Network Inc. has urged the government to adopt in the Philippines the widely used digital television standard developed in Europe.
“Based on the comparison and available technical information, GMA Network recommends the DVB-2 as the digital terrestrial television standard to be adopted in the Philippines,” the company said in a letter to the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC).
The Kapisanan ng mga Brodkaster ng Pilipinas (KBP) and rival network ABS-CBN Corp., on the other hand, are pushing for the adoption of Japan’s Integrated Services Digital Broadcasting (ISDB) standard for digital TV services.
The ISDB and the second-generation Digital Video Broadcasting (DVB-2) from Europe are the two leading platforms around the world.
Switching to digital TV broadcasting will mean more channels and better signal reception for Filipino viewers.
The government’s choice on which platform to roll out in the Philippines will mean big business for companies that build equipment that support the different technologies.
In its letter, GMA said presentations by proponents of the DVB-2 and ISDB platforms showed that the former could broadcast more channels while using much less power, resulting in lower costs for networks.
These savings, the company said, would more than make up for the costs of set-top boxes that support the DVB-2 standard.
Set-top boxes are devices that convert digital signals into viewable images for older television sets.
ISDB proponents, led by the Japanese Embassy in Manila, argued that costs of their set-top boxes were much lower, with the Japanese technology being more mature.
Last month, the agency’s TWG recommended the ISDB standard, citing the availability of cheaper set-top boxes, which would make the new technology easier to accept for low-income Filipino households. The NTC’s three-member commission is expected to make a decision based on this recommendation this month.
“[But] the technical superiority of DVB-2 transcends even to the commercial viability on the part of the operators by virtue of the significant savings that can be generated. The inherent signal robustness of DVB-2 over ISDB is the key driver to this advantage,” GMA said.
GMA said companies should also be given ample time to conduct their own tests to verify claims of technical superiority made by European executives of the second-generation Digital Video Broadcasting (DVB-2) platform.
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