ABS-CBN invests in digital TV, cable TV
Media giant ABS-CBN Corp. has been investing heavily in digital terrestrial television (DTT) and cable TV, as it aims to bring clear TV viewing to millions of Filipinos.
DTT, considered as the future of television, offers viewers digital clear picture and sound for all existing channels, and more content as each network can broadcast in more than one channel. DTT is seen to replace the existing analog broadcast transmission system in the country by 2015.
Apart from cable TV and DTT, ABS-CBN is also credited for other innovations such as being the first network to broadcast in color in 1968 and the first to broadcast a locally-produced program and live event in high-definition in 2009.
Using the TV+, we can have a clear view of Philippine TV channels without the interferences. This will give us a clearer and better quality viewing experience. ABS-CBN's Digibox currently can receive free-to-air channels like ABS-CBN, Studio 23, GEM HD and PTV. Once other TV networks go digital, they can also be received through the TV+.The TV+ box has additional premium channels coming from the ABS-CBN digital TV channel like Knowledge Channel, MYX, Cine Mo (a movie channel) and Yey! (cartoon/anime channel). The TV+ is bought for a one-time fee of approximately P 2,500. As of now, ABS-CBN is under test transmission of their DTV service in areas like Pampanga and Bulacan but ready to released their Digibox as soon as the governing body says yes.
FACTS about Digital television in the Philippines
- Eagle Broadcasting Corporation: In partnership with the Christian Era Broadcasting Service, the companies launched the first digital television station in the country, DZCE-TV, GEMNET, in 2007. Initially broadcasting in DVB-T, it shifted to using ISDB-T in 2009.
- ABS-CBN: ABS-CBN Corporation announced its plans to spend Php500 million for its fractional relocation from analog to digital terrestrial television technology and currently testing its DTT service and once migrated, it would offer 14 to 15 channels in addition to its ABS-CBN and Studio 23 brands. Its early test, ABS-CBN will be using its analog and digital services for more than 1,000 households in the Philippines. ABS-CBN started laying its foundation for digital broadcast as early as 2007. On April 4, 2011, ABS-CBN revealed that its digital service is completed ahead from its original schedule and it can launch five premium channels on free-to-air TV via digital television as soon as the local regulator finalizes its implementing rules and regulations regarding digital terrestrial television broadcast. ABS-CBN will be using ultra-high frequency channel 35 (596–602 MHz) for its ISDB-T test, and channel 51 (692–698 MHz), which is previously used for testing for its DVB-T. Their initial test was conducted in areas of Valenzuela, Bulacan, Rizal, Cavite and Laguna. In November 2010, ABS-CBN begin rolling out its digital broadcast in 17 cities in Metropolitan Manila including selected areas in Bulacan and Pampanga. ABS-CBN allocated Php1 billion to migrate its analog service to digital terrestrial television broadcast.
- GMA: GMA Network, Inc. is presently applying for a digital television license from the NTC to install and maintain transmitting stations that will be attuned with and utilize to offer digital terrestrial television and digital mobile TV broadcast services, using channel 27. Areas planned for a temporary digital broadcast will cover the cities of Quezon City, Makati, Pasig, Tagaytay, and Angeles in Pampanga; and areas like Ortigas, Cavite, and Calumpit in Bulacan. GMA has also been vocal about the NTC's choice of format for digital television — recently suggesting to the NTC that it should examine the possibility of using DVB-T2 due to its better quality instead of ISDB-T, which it began to do on March 27, 2011.
- Digital television transition in the Philippines started its planning stage in 2006 after the National Telecommunications Commission have released a memorandum on what DTV broadcast standard to be used for the country. The commission has decided to have UHF TV channels 14-51 at frequency spectrum 470-698 MHz given over to digital broadcast. They did not choose the ATSC standard, although Philippines uses the NTSC-M standard . Instead, Philippines is testing on the two standards to be used, that is the DVB of Europe and ISDB of Japan. Many agreed to the ISDB of Japan but some also on DVB of Europe. On June 11, 2010, National Telecommunications Commission of the Philippines announced that the country will use the ISDB-T standard. The first fully operational Digital TV is GEM-TV49 of the religious group Iglesia ni Cristo.
ABS-CBN presents the future of television!
The future of television looks bright and clear as ABS-CBN is ready to launch five new premium channels on free-to-air TV via Digital Television (DTV), a high-tech standard that uses digital signals for broadcast.
DTV occupies lesser space in the frequency so that a single TV station can broadcast on more than one channel, giving viewers more programs options. The new channels that ABS-CBN will unveil will cater to different audiences. The new channels to be made available include 2 channels for kids, a channel for the youth, a channel for dads and a channel for moms.
According to Miguel Mercado, ABS-CBN DTV Head of Marketing, viewers need not wait long because ABS-CBN is ready to launch DTV operations within the year. He said the company is just waiting for the final go-signal from the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC).
“With Philippine broadcasting companies going digital, the viewing public will be able to enjoy digital quality viewing in any TV as DTV addresses the issues of poor reception, grainy pictures and choppy audio,” says Mercado.
Upon the purchase of an affordably priced DTV Digibox to be connected to the television set, viewers will be able to enjoy the five new channels for free, in addition to all existing channels broadcasting in digital. By time ABS-CBN DTV is launched, this list will include Channel 2, Studio 23, GEM TV and NBN.
ABS-CBN expects other broadcasters to follow suit since the NTC has directed the local television industry to make a complete transition to digital by 2015. NTC’s mandate will certainly benefit the general public as it puts the Philippines at par with the international standard. DTV is the system followed in the U.S., Japan, Australia, South Korea and most of Europe.
ABS-CBN has been preparing for the switchover since 2007. Recently, the network conducted DTV trials in more than 1,000 households all over the Philippines. Participants responded very positively.
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