MANILA, June 9 — Members of the Kapisanan ng mga Brodkaster ng Pilipinas (KBP) said Filipino viewers would benefit the most once Digital Terrestrial Television (DTT) broadcasting is rolled out.
But before broadcast networks can roll out, they still have to wait for the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) to finish the implementing rules and regulations (IRR) that will set the ground rules and provisions to guide broadcast networks in operating under digital transmission.
On Thursday, Atom Henares, chairman of the KBP Television Committee, declared DTT provides for a wide variety of features that Filipinos can enjoy once they roll out DTT.
Digital technology not only provides Filipinos with better image quality and clearer sound, but it also allows for more content through more channels. This gives way for more variety and options for the viewers.
“Majority of our households don’t have cable subscriptions which confine their viewing experience to up to only 22 channels compared to up to 176 channels in DTT. Being stuck in the analog age of television limits the viewing experience of Filipinos,” Henares said.
Of the 22 channels, only three are being watched by approximately 80 percent of the market. This is a clear proof of the limited choices the Filipinos currently have in terms of programs and content.
Another significant feature of DTT is its data broadcast capability and interactivity, which allows for immediate data transmission to all DTT users. This is particularly helpful in emergency situations.
Migrating to DTT also makes viewing for Filipinos easier anywhere with its mobility. Several mobile phones are already available in the market that can receive DTT signals, allowing its users to watch while on the go.
The urgent need to migrate to digital broadcasting is being pushed by other non-KBP member broadcast networks as well.
Engineer Antonio M. Leduna, chief technology officer of the National Broadcasting Network (NBN), says, “With DTT, the public could be served better with better reception and quality.”
NBN has been test broadcasting using digital transmission since 2009 and has not since experienced any interruption or problems with their reception. Other networks that are currently testing digital broadcast are Gem TV and Net 25.
Henares said, “It is important for NTC to already come out with the IRR because we are all trying to meet the deadline set to the Philippines by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU).”
ITU is the global body, to which the Philippines is a member of, mandating countries to adopt a new digital TV standard. Countries like the United States and Japan took almost 10 years to fully roll out digital broadcasting.
NTC already released in June last year its memorandum circular No. 02-06-2010 adopting a standard to be used in the country. This was the result of the four-year review done by the commission on existing standards being used by other countries.
Immediately after the release of the memorandum, some industry players have already prepared to be DTT-ready.
But before NTC can finalize the IRR, another review must be done first as per order of the House of Representatives as a new standard is made available.
“If we keep on delaying the release of IRR just because a new standard is released, we will be left out. Technology is always evolving non-stop. We need to address the needs of the Filipinos now,” stressed Henares.
The IRR is expected to be finalized by June of this year, granted that the latest review will not affect the NTC circular containing its choice of DTT standard.
Leduna added that the reaction they always get when they demo digital broadcast to a group of people is, "When will it be available to us?"
Said Henares, “All the industry needs now is the IRR for them to fully prepare to roll out digital broadcast.” (PNA) DCT/scs/LOR