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GMA announces spending plans for Digital TV

/ 04:28 AM December 07, 2016

GMA Network Inc., one of the country’s largest television broadcast companies, outlined early spending plans for its entry into the digital television space. The move is in line with a government-mandated transition from analog to digital.

In a statement yesterday, the company said it would initially spend P416 million on three high-powered transmitter facilities for the digital terrestrial television, or DTT, project.

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The announcement was among the few that GMA has made in this area. Company officials said the shift had been long-planned but certain issues needed to be worked out. Among these, the “monetization” of digital TV and the potential need for a telco partner.

The network did not provide the actual rollout date of the service to the public. Company officials, however, said the service would be launched first in Mega Manila, an area where it claimed strong television ratings.

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Rival ABS-CBN Corp. launched its digital television service in early 2015. Since that time, the company had sold more than two million of its ABS-CBN TV plus units.

“All technical back-end requirements related to the roll-out have long been ready, including the media asset management and broadcast automation systems. It will not be long before our DTT product is introduced to the market,” GMA president and chief operating officer Gilberto R. Duavit Jr. said in the statement.

GMA chair and chief executive officer Felipe Gozon said GMA’s product “will not only be different but will also be better than what the competitor had introduced to the market.”

GMA has unveiled a prototype of its DTT product, which could function as both a receiver for digital television and a digital media set-top box.

The device can enable digital broadcast services on analog TV while transforming the unit into a smart TV capable of playing on-demand content and running different applications.

It said the Intellectual Property Office had issued a Certificate of Registration for the so-called utility model application of the device.

GMA said it would use the Japanese DTV standard or ISDB-T, in compliance with the rules and regulations of the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC).

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The Philippines in 2013 chose the Japanese standard, saying it was cheaper and allowed for a built-in warning system to inform people about natural calamities.

“Considering the increasing number of ISDB-T ready homes in the country, we are now prepared to exit the test phase and begin with the first part of our DTT rollout in Mega Manila. We are replicating the same level of superiority and consistency that we have exhibited in our analog signal as we shift to digital,” Gozon said.

The NTC announced earlier the so-called shut-off of analog TV, the current standard, should be done by 2019. —MIGUEL R. CAMUS

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TAGS: Analog, digital, digital television, DTT, GMA Network Inc., Transmitter
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