MANILA - The National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) today released the order for the Philippines' adoption of Japan's standard for digital TV service.
Under Memorandum Circular No. 05-11-2013, the NTC said the Philippines would shift to Japan's Integrated Services Digital Broadcast-Terrestrial (ISDB-T) standard.
ABS-CBN Corp chief financial officer Rolando Valdueza said the company had invested close to P2 billion for its digital TV rollout. This is almost twice bigger than the combined planned investment of GMA7 and TV5 for the Digital shift. GMA said it plans to invest P600 million while TV5 has set aside P500 million for the upgrade.
Sought for comment, TV5 president Noel C. Lorenzana said the company welcomes the government's decision to adopt the Japanese standard. "Based on our technical studies, Japan set-top box is still slightly cheaper" than the European standard, Valdueza said.
ABS-CBN had been rooting for the Japanese standard, while its main rival for the top spot, GMA Network Inc had been lobbying for the European standard.
The NTC said adoption of the Japanese standard was based on the re-evaluation of the latest and most appropriate and suitable standard, to include the emergence of the second-generation digital terrestrial TV (DTT) standards and the update of the prevailing market price of the set-top boxes.
The NTC said the stakeholders of the TV industry and the Kapisanan ng Broadkaster ng Pilipinas also recommended the adoption of the Japanese standard.
The regulator's technical working group will immediately convene to draft the implementing rules and regulations and frequency planning for the implementation of digital TV.
The regulator in 2010 issued an order adopting ISDB-T as the standard and released draft implementing rules and regulations in July 2011, but Malacañang ordered a review of Europe's Digital Video Broadcasting-Terrestrial 2 (DVB-T2).
Besides Japan, other countries that have adopted ISDB-T are Brazil, Peru, Chile, Venzuela, Ecuador, Costa Rica and Paraguay.
The Philippines had planned to migrate from analog to digital TV come 2015. Free-TV or non-cable households comprise 90 percent of the country's 17 million viewers.