MANILA – The Philippines has begun the process of shifting to the Japanese digital TV standard from an analog system after it was approved by President Benigno Aquino III, one of his communications officers said.
Herminio Coloma said Tuesday the National Telecommunications Commission held a public hearing Oct. 29 on its proposed memorandum that sets the Integrated Services Digital Broadcast-Terrestrial (ISDB-T) standard as the sole standard in the delivery of Digital Terrestrial Television services in the Philippines.
“The Philippines, like 15 other countries, has chosen to adopt the integrated services digital broadcasting terrestrial system developed by Japan. This will pave the way for digital broadcast in the entire country,” Coloma said.
The move is in sync with the rest of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, which Coloma said is one of the significant aspects of connectivity for regional integration by 2015.
It is also aligned with the government’s objective of zero casualties in times of calamities. He noted that at least 20 typhoons hit the Philippines every year, and that being situated within the Pacific Ring of Fire and with six active faults, Filipinos are exposed “to constant danger and adversity.”
“President Aquino has emphasized that the Philippines’ choice for the ISDB-T system is anchored upon the built-in emergency alert system for mobile phones and television,” Coloma said, recalling how many potential victims of the March 11, 2011, calamities in Japan were spared because of the system.
Coloma said that there are approximately 95 million mobile phone subscribers in the Philippines and that any mobile device without an ISDB-T chip can be hooked to a small gadget to be able to receive mobile transmissions and early warnings.
Another factor for the adoption is the lower cost for acquiring a setup box compatible with existing television sets, Coloma said.
He said all major stakeholder groups already agreed to the ISDB-T system and a set of implementing rules and regulations will follow in the coming months, making the Philippines compliant.
Japan had long been urging the Philippines to adopt the system since it was considered in 2010 against Europe’s Digital Video Broadcasting-Terrestrial 2, with Japanese Ambassador Toshinao Urabe saying a year ago the delay entails lost economic opportunity for the industry.