Broadcast firms to go digital by ’23
The country’s television broadcast companies should fully transition to digital TV from analog by 2023.
The new target emerged on Tuesday during the Digital TV Summit, organized by the Department of Information and Communications Technology, which also outlined steps for the migration to digital TV.
The event was led by DICT Secretary Rodolfo Salalima, officials from the National Telecommunications Commission and representatives from the major broadcast networks ABS-CBN Corp., GMA Network Inc. and TV5.
The transition to digital TV paves the way for a higher-quality viewing experience and at a lower operating cost.
Its biggest beneficiaries would be the more than 14 million households that cannot afford pay television and thus rely on free-to-air analog broadcast.
The Philippines in 2013 selected the Japanese digital TV standard over its European counterpart, due to cost considerations and the fact that the former allowed for a built-in warning system to inform people about natural calamities.
ABS-CBN launched its digital television service in early 2015 while GMA Network said it would start this year in major urban areas in the Philippines. TV5 president and CEO Vincent Reyes said on Tuesday that they would also comply with the government’s mandate.
“We are already test broadcasting, we have a couple of channels running now,” Reyes said. He noted that the other main challenge for broadcast companies was how to earn from digital TV.
“Content is king but monetization is King Kong,” Reyes said.
According to the DICT, some 95 percent of households should have access to digital television by the time analog is switched off.
The remaining 5 percent of households can avail themselves of government financial assistance.
Earlier, the government was targeting the full transition to digital by 2020, but NTC deputy commissioner Edgardo Cabarios said more time was needed.
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