PH ready for full migration to digital TV — NTC

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(file photo)

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines) — Sharper and clearer video and audio await consumers when the country goes digital in three to five years, the government’s telecommunications regulator said Thursday (May 19).

The National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) is holding public consultations and hearings regarding the Philippine plan to migrate from analog to digital terrestrial television broadcast (DTTB) or digital TV.

NTC Director Edgardo Cabarios said it may take a while, but he is optimistic that local broadcast networks are all set to fully migrate to digital TV once the proposals are cemented.

"Ang shift po sa digital TV from analog ay tanggap po [ng] industriya kaya nakatiyak po ang NTC na handa na sila (broadcast networks) sa shift to digital TV," said Cabarios in a text message to CNN Philippines on Thursday night (May 19).

[Translation: The shift to digital TV from analog is accepted by the industry that's why the NTC is certain they (broadcast networks) are ready for the shift to digital TV.]

"Hindi naman po nakalayo sa ibang bansa ang Pilipinas sa pag-shift sa digital TV mula analog TV. Halos sabay-sabay naman po ang mga bansa sa Southeast Asia."

[Translation: The Philippines is not far behind other countries is the shift to digital TV from analog TV. Almost all the countries in Southeast Asia are migrating to digital almost at the same time.] 

Cabarios does not deny that the shift to digital TV will be expensive especially for Filipino households which have been used to cheaper analog TV.

NTC is all set for the demands of digital, from the equipment to the practical implication of the new scheme.  

"Ang pag-shift sa digital TV ay nangangailangan ng set-up box o digital to analog converter hangga't wala pa pong TV receivers na mayroon digital tuner o  Integrated Services Digital Broadcast-Terrestrial (ISDB-T) standard," said Cabarios. "Sa pag-prepare po ng migration plan, i-co-consider po ang kakayahan ng ating mga households na bumili ng set-up box."

[Translation: While there are still no TV receivers with digital tuners, the shift to digital TV would require a set-up box or digital to analog converter. As we prepare the migration plan, we will consider the capability of households to buy a set-up box.]

Aside from local networks, some mobile companies have started to come up with digital TV-ready smartphones in a bid to keep up with the trend.

"This can really co-exist also with conventional TV," said Kevin Tan, vice president of local brand MyPhone. "When you're in traffic, you're on the go, and you want to catch something, you can always do it on your digital TV phone."

Tan said their company will request broadcast networks to provide better digital TV signal "so we can catch more channels in our devices."

According to the NTC, only smartphones with the ISDB-T standard are capable of receiving signal from digital TV.  However, Cabarios said there are no regulations yet for mobile TV, as far as these smartphones offer.

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