THE PLANNED shift to Japanese digital television standard for broadcasting may not push through by April with the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) now mulling whether to take a second look at the upgraded European standard.
This comes after broadcaster GMA Network, Inc. and the House Committee on Information and Communication Technology “encouraged” the state agency to again review which digital TV standard to adopt, NTC Commissioner Gamaliel A. Cordoba said in a text message yesterday.
“We’re already studying the two proposals. We’ll make an announcement within the next two weeks [if we will be reviewing or not],” Mr. Cordoba said.
“In case a review is made, it will be a quick one — maybe a maximum of two months in process,” Mr. Cordoba added.
Plans to issue implementing rules for the shift to the Japanese standard by April may thus be scuttled as the NTC could instead publish a draft that is “technology-neutral” in the meantime.
This may overturn the decision made in June last year when NTC, following unanimous industry support, selected the Japanese Integrated Services Digital Broadcasting-Terrestrial (ISDB-T) standard as the country’s digital television platform over the European Digital Video Broadcasting (DVB) technology.
The decision last year to adopt the ISDB-T standard was reached in a meeting of stakeholders from the Kapisanan ng mga Brodkaster ng Pilipinas, GMA Network, Inc., ABS-CBN Corp., RPN Channel 9, and Vanguard Radio Network Co., Inc., among others.
Representatives from the Japanese embassy and NTC officials went on to sign a memorandum of cooperation. Japanese makers of the set-top boxes required for non-digital TV sets were said to have committed to build a manufacturing plant in the Philippines to help cut prices.
But last month, GMA Network president Gilberto R. Duavit, Jr. told reporters that the government should reconsider its decision to pick the Japanese standard, saying the European DVB2 technology has better quality.
The Philippines is aiming to complete the shift to digital TV by 2015. After NTC issues the IRR for the digital TV standard, broadcasting firms can start rolling out the digital signals alongside analog signals.
Aside from Japan, the ISDB-T has been widely adopted in South America.