French push European standards for digital TV in Philippines

June 11th, 2009 - 10:35 UTC by Andy Sennitt

The French Embassy and the European Commission yesterday pushed for the adoption of European standards in the planned digital television system in the Philippines. French government officials and broadcasting company executives took turns to endorse the European standard, known as Digital Video Broadcast (DVB), among industry players during a one-day seminar at the Sulo Hotel in Quezon City. Japanese officials earlier this year visited the Philippines to promote the Japanese digital television system.

National Telecommunications Commission Commissioner Ruel Canobas said the Japanese and European standards were the two options being considered for adoption in the Philippines.

John Bigeni, representatives of DVB Forum for Asia and the Pacific, said Digital Video Broadcasting is an industry-led consortium of over 280 broadcasters, manufacturers, network operators, software developers and regulatory bodies in 35 countries.He said DVB standards were now available in 121 countries, with over 220 million DVB receivers deployed globally. Bigeni said there was actually a potential market of 400 million to 500 million households for DVB this year.

Mr Bigeni said the external box that would allow digital images was cheaper than those produced in Japan, because it is sold and manufactured in different countries. The European DVB box costs $26 per unit, compared with Japan’s $29. “The challenge for us really is the cost of adopting the new system. We are currently looking to lower the cost system,” said Mr Canobas.

Mr Canobas said in terms of frequency allocation, the Philippines had enough frequencies to support the transition, which should be complete by 2015. Broadcast companies are investing to upgrade their technologies to digital with ABS-CBN Broadcasting Corp. saying that a part of its capital expenditure this year would go to a five-year program to adopt digital terrestrial TV service. ‘