ABS-CBN moves first in shift to digital TV
Lawrence Agcaoili (The Philippine Star) - February 17, 2014 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - Multimedia giant ABS-CBN Corp. said it has the first-mover advantage in the roll out of digital terrestrial television using the Japanese technology, having invested in the impending shift a few years ago.

ABS-CBN chairman Eugenio Lopez III said the broadcast firm invested early in the adoption of Japan ’s Integrated Service Digital Broadcasting-Terrestrial or ISDB-T standard.

“Well, we placed our bets early and have already invested in this standard. We are probably three years ahead of everybody else in terms of rolling out digital TV, so this should give us first-mover advantage as the country transitions from analog to digital,” Lopez stressed.

He pointed out that ABS-CBN is ready to expand its free-to-air channel once the implementing rules and regulations (IRR) of the impending shift to digital terrestrial TV using the Japanese technology is issued by the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC).

“We are now ready to expand our free-to-air channel offerings by an additional five channels from two channels currently, once the implementing rules and regulations are released,” he added.

ABS-CBN is spending P4 billion for its capital expenditures this year for the ongoing shift to the Japanese standard digital terrestrial television, for the regular capital expenditures of ABS-CBN, for its pay TV business through SkyCable, and for program rights.

It recently raised P6 billion from the issuance of fixed-rate bonds due 2021.

NTC commissioner Gamaliel Cordoba earlier said the guidelines for the adoption of the Japanese standard is expected to be completed either late the first quarter or early second quarter of the year.

Cordoba said NTC together with government agencies including the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) as well as the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) are finalizing the guidelines in consultation with various industry stakeholders.

Digital television is an innovative transmitting technology transforming television-viewing experience through better picture and sound quality.

According to Lopez, the government would make sure that Filipino households would be able to receive the digital signal either by shifting to TV sets cable of receiving the digital signal or buying set top box for their analog TV sets to receive the digital signal.

Upon the completion of the IRR, broadcast companies would start the simultaneous broadcasting for both digital and analog signal and would give enough time for Filipino households to buy digital TV or set top box for their analog units.

If all the households are now capable of receiving digital signals in their TV sets, he pointed out that the government would implement the “analog shut off” wherein broadcasting companies would stop transmitting analog signals.

Last November, NTC issued the memorandum circular for “Standard for Digital Terrestrial Television (DTT) Broadcast Service” as President Aquino announced the shift to digital TV using the Japanese standard after reaching an agreement with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on the sidelines of the Asean Meeting in Brunei in October.                       

 

ASEAN MEETING BROADCAST SERVICE DEPARTMENT OF SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY DIGITAL DIGITAL TERRESTRIAL TELEVISION EUGENIO LOPEZ GAMALIEL CORDOBA INTEGRATED SERVICE DIGITAL BROADCASTING-TERRESTRIAL JAPANESE PRIME MINISTER SHINZO ABE
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