Spotlight falls on digital terrestrial TV in the Arab world
Rebecca Hawkes
| 20 May 2014
The migration to digital TV is the focus of the first Arab meeting to coordinate terrestrial channels currently taking place in Dubai, hosted by the UAE Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA) and the International Telecommunications Union (ITU).

"There are certain issues that we must not lose sight of and those include the band allocated for analogue terrestrial TV broadcasting which will no longer be protected after mid of June 17, 2015, and the reassignment of the 700 & 800MHz bands that reduce the number of channels allocated for digital terrestrial TV broadcast," H E Majed Al Mesmar, deputy general manager of the telecommunications sector in TRA, told delegates on the opening day of the meeting.

"Agreeing on a unified digital TV receiver specification for the Arab region and the consensus among Arab countries to find and allocate the required additional channels that compensate the lost ones due to the reassignments of 700 & 800MHz are also required to tackle these issues," he added.

Eng. Tarket Al Owady, executive director of spectrum management and international affairs in the UAE, also spoke of the "many advantages" digital terrestrial broadcasting holds over analogue, including "high quality picture and sound, efficient use of the frequency spectrum, high mobility, multichannel and broadcast media, in addition to better reception of broadcast signals, which also features low cost compared with the broadcast satellite broadcasting."

TRA has collaborated with the Emirates Authority for Standardisation and Metrology as well as TV manufacturers and operators such as Abu Dhabi Media Company, Dubai Media Incorporated and Sharjah media to draft information on DTT. It dictates that TV suppliers in the UAE must provide tuning devices for DTT with every television set sold in the country by 2015.