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DIGITAL TELEVISION STANDARDS IN THE PHILIPPINES

In the Philippines, Digital television broadcasts can be received through digital cable and direct
broadcast satellite. Digital terrestrial television (DTT) services are currently in development by the major
broadcasting companies of the Philippines.
Currently using the American NTSC standard for analog television, the National Telecommunications
Commission officially announced in June 2010 that DTT in the Philippines would utilize the
Japanese ISDB-T standard, and issued a circular stating that the country's broadcasters must discontinue
their analog services by the transition deadline of 11:59 p.m. (Philippine Standard Time,UTC+8) on
December 31, 2015. The commission will be using the ultra-high frequency television channels from 14
to 51 between 470-698 megahertz for digital terrestrial television broadcast service and deliberating
channels 14 to 20 (470-512 MHz) which is currently being used for fixed/mobile services. However,
before the official announcement, several broadcasters performed trial broadcasts using DVB-T.
Preparation for the transition to digital television commenced with an issuance of Executive Order 546,
series of 1979 and Republic Act 3846 or the Radio Control Law as amended by the local governing body
for broadcast services, the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) and adopted the said order
to promulgate rules and regulations in order to facilitate the entry of digital broadcast services in the
Philippines and implement a specific standard for the delivery of DTT services. Subsequently organizing
two technical working groups for the purpose of directing the governing body in the selection of
appropriate DTT standard and upon the commendation of investors in the broadcast business,
comprising the local broadcasters group, the Kapisanan ng mga Brodkaster ng Pilipinas, the NTC issued
Memorandum Circular 02-06-2010 on June 11, 2010 implementing the standard for digital terrestrial
television broadcast service.

IMPLEMENTATION
Since the early 2000s, studies have been carried out on the country's digital television transition. A wait
and see plan is being trailed and examining progresses with no resolution to ensue with digital
television services in the Philippines. The NTC chose to use the Japanese standard ISDB-T for digital
television in the country in Memorandum Circular 02-06-2010, noting its capability to 3 levels of
categorized modulation (audio, video and data services) to fixed, portable and handheld devices
exclusive of the necessity for a supplementary communication facility.
In the draft version of the NTC's proposed regulations for DTV, broadcast companies who intend to
provide digital terrestrial television service must have a congressional broadcast franchise before
operating such services and have at least 15 television stations throughout the Philippines; have a
minimum paid-up capital of Php1 billion and accessible locally in 10 regions while broadcasting
companies with less than the required television stations and availability locally, the minimum paid-up
capital will be Php1.2 billion, whereas new applicants with no present broadcast station, the paid-up

capital will be Php1.5 billion. For those broadcast companies who intend to delivery digital broadcast
locally, must procure a congressional franchise and have at least Php60 million per digital terrestrial
television station. Concurring to the commission, the outline of digital technology in the broadcasting
service would guarantee the effectiveness of the broadcast business and provide them the prospect to
offer superior facilities to end-user. The draft outline as an enactment of the digital technology in the
television broadcast is intended to provide greater number of channels, better screen resolution and
stereo sounds through a conventional aerial antenna instead of a satellite or cable TV service.
Initially, the commission adopted the European standard DVB-T for digital broadcasting. The broadcast
providers adopt either high-definition television format or its standard definition multiprogramming.
The draft IRR also states that a duly broadcast provider with a congressional franchise will deliver analog
television service and must carry its present analog television programs through its digital terrestrial
television service. For digital broadcast provider aiming to offer pay-per-view or restricted access will be
required to seek additional permission from the commission. Supplementary services may be
permissible, subject to prevailing decrees, acts and laws. The draft rules equally specify the commission
shall continue to process new applications for analog television stations up to December 31, 2008 but
will no longer approve or authorized to broadcast beyond December 31, 2010 and all certified digital
broadcast providers will relinquish their individual analog frequencies upon the termination of its analog
television broadcast transmission by 11:59 p.m., Thursday, December 31, 2015.
DEPLOYMENT
Terrestrial

ABS-CBN: ABS-CBN Corporation intends to spend 1 billion pesoes on its transition to digital
broadcasting. ABS-CBN announced on April 4, 2011 that it would be prepared to launch 5 free
"premium" channels on a DTT platform as soon as the NTC finalized its regulations surrounding
digital television. ABS-CBN will be using UHF channel 35 (596602 MHz) for its ISDB-T test, and
channel 51 (692698 MHz), which was previously used for test broadcasts using 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.
PTN: The state broadcaster People's Television Network began DTT trials using ISDB-T in 2009 using
channel 48. In 2011, the Japanese government donated additional equipment to the network in
order to approve its digital services. PTN is also planning to operate an emergency notification
system using the digital platform.
ABC: ABC Development Corporation, operator of TV5 will use ISDB-T for its DTT trials; a simulcast
of DWET-TV on DWDZ-TV. Stressing the importance of the transition, the broadcaster plans to
migrate DWET-TV to digital as soon as possible.
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,[11][12] using channel 27. Areas planned for a
temporary digital broadcast will cover the cities of Quezon City,[13] Makati, Pasig,Tagaytay,
and Angeles in Pampanga; and areas like Ortigas, Cavite, and Calumpit in Bulacan. GMA was vocal
about the NTC's choice of DTV standard; on March 27, 2011, a GMA executive proposed the use of

the updated European standard DVB-T2 as opposed to ISDB-T due to its better quality. However,
the NTC did not change its decision.
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.
BEAM: Broadcast Enterprises and Affiliated Media, Inc., owned by a joint consortium led by
Bethlehem Holdings, Inc., an investee of Globe Telecom Retirement Fund through its holding
company HALO Holdings Inc. (which owns 39 percent of Altimax Broadcasting Company), applied for
digital broadcast using the European standard, the DVB-T digital broadcast. The station uses the
frequency of UHF Channel 31, which is currently airing CHASE.
Cable

SkyCable: In October 2010, SkyCable announced it would migrate at least 80% of its subscribers in
Metro Manila to a digital cable platform with new Digiboxes by 2011. SkyCable allocated 20 percent
of its Php1 billion capital expenditure in order to fund the migration. SkyCable adopted the DVBC standard for its digital cable system. The new platform also allowed SkyCable to additionally
introduce high definition channels to its lineup.[20][21]
Global Destiny Cable: In March 2009, Global Destiny Cable began to offer its own digital cable
services, investing Php500 to Php700 million on headend and infrastructure updates and the
distribution of digital set-top boxes for its subscribers.[22][23]
Parasat Cable: Parasat Cable TV, the cable provider of Mindanao, introduced digital cable in July
2009. It has rolled out its services to Cagayan de Oro City; municipalities of Opol andTagoloan;
in Malaybalay and San Carlos, Negros Occidental; Ginoog City; municipalities of Balingasag, Don
Carlos and Valencia City, Bukidnon; and, the east and west sides of Misamis Oriental.[24][25]
Satellite

Cignal Digital TV: Cignal Digital TV and its parent company MediaScape (which is owned by
the PLDT) invested Php1.5 billion in the implementation of its digital satellite TV services. Cignal
uses the DVB-S2 standard for its digital satellite platform.

DEVELOPMENTS

July 2007. Television firms who plan to broadcast digital terrestrial television services to television
and other communication devices cannot implement such as the commission is revising its
guidelines on digital television programming. However, the commission allows broadcast firms to
test its system while waiting for the implementing rules and regulations (IRR). The development
comes in light with telecom company, Smart Communications Inc. through its MediaQuest Holdings,
Inc. for its myTV service. The commission reiterates in the absence of IRR, the telecom company
cannot charge the service being offered to its subscribers.
June 2009. In formulating the transition from analog television broadcast to digital terrestrial
television (DTT) transmission in the Philippines and to guide the commission in outlining the
planned implementing rules and regulations for the enactment of DTT service, ultra-high frequency
television channels 14 to 51 (470-698 MHz) will be assigned to the DTT Broadcast Service and

deliberating further channels 14 to 20 (470-512 MHz) which is currently being used by Fixed and
Mobile Service. On June 24, 2009, the local unit of the commission, the Frequency Management
Division is assigned to formulate a frequency allocation plan for the effective transmission of
appropriate users of channels 14 to 20.
February 2010. The Philippines is anticipated to deferment its planned analog television signal
automatic switch-off in 2015 due to technicalities in implementing an official digital terrestrial
television platform. While other members of Association of Southeast Asian Nations cooperatively
accepted the digital video broadcasting-terrestrial or the DVB-T as its favored standard, the
Philippines have not adopted any platform.
February 2011. The National Telecommunications Commission plans to implement the digital
terrestrial television service in select key cities in the Philippines in 2012. The governing body
desires the transition be implemented gradually. The technical working group has yet not classified
where the transition will take place. Key cities in the Philippines are being considered but in the
absence of an implementing rules and regulations, the digital terrestrial television service may not
be fully consummate to the viewing public. While the transition will be made progressively,
broadcasting networks can still convey analog television service although DTT is being rationalized
in other areas. Meanwhile, the commission set an 85 percent compliance rate before it consider
terminating all analog signals for broadcast transmission.
December 2010. The governments of Japan and the Philippines reached a collaboration decision in
adopting a memorandum of cooperation resulting in the commissions earlier pronouncement to
use the Japaneses Integrated Services Digital Broadcast-Terrestrial platform for digital terrestrial
television broadcast standard for the Philippines. According to theCommission on Information and
Communications Technology, the Japanese government is keen on guiding Filipino counterpart to
the technology. The Philippine government also requested its counterpart to shoulder the cost
of set-top boxes and also deliberating in rescheduling the compulsory switchover from analog
transmission to digital broadcast from an earlier target.
March 2011. The National Telecommunications Commission asked to reevaluate the platform to be
used for the Philippines digital television broadcast. The regulator is studying the possible
implementation of a newer platform, the European second-generation Digital Video BroadcastingTerrestrial (DVB-T2) substituting the Japanese Integrated Services Digital BroadcastTerrestrial (ISDB-T) standard that the commission adopted earlier and was the basis of creating
implementing rules and regulations for digital broadcast. Experts announced the DVB-T2 is more
superior to its Japanese counterpart. Broadcasting firms, GMA Network, Inc. and TV5 conveyed
their support to reevaluate its earlier decision to adopt ISDB-T platform. The commission adopted
the ISDB-T primarily owing in terms of affordability.
April 2011. One of Philippines broadcasting firm, ABS-CBN Corporation criticized the National
Telecommunications Commission (NTC) for conveying varied indications on the Philippines official
stand on digital television standard. The firm panned the commission on its incompetence in
supporting its initial pronouncement to implement Japanese digital television standard,
theIntegrated Services Digital Broadcast-Terrestrial (ISDB-T). In 2010, the commission officially led
the digital television period in the Philippines and releases a memorandum circular agreeing the use
of ISDB-T as the standard digital platform. But in recent developments, the commission is
considering the European digital television platform, the European Digital Video Broadcast-

Terrestrial (DVB-T). According to the commission, the European platform is more superior to its
Japanese counterpart.
May 2011. Television companies in the Philippines have supported the local governing body to
reevaluate the digital television standard to be used, and the attempt to reconsider the
advancement of the Japanese technology (ISDB-T) over the newer version of the European digital
television platform. Broadcasting companies initiated to delay the switchover provided the
technology will be used is far more advanced than the initial digital standard adopted on June 11,
2010. GMA Network, Inc. and TV5 agreed to do comparative tests with the European and Japanese
standard. Currently, the commission is simultaneously drafting the implementing rules and
regulations for digital terrestrial television broadcast under the Japanese platform and reviewing
the DVB-T2 European standard.
August 2011. Philippine local agency, the National Telecommunication Commission has finalized its
evaluation on the chosen standard for the digital terrestrial television (DTT) broadcast service in the
Philippines. The commission adopted the Japans Integrated Services Digital Broadcasting-Television
(ISDB-T) standards over its European counterpart, the Digital Video Broadcasting-Television (DVBT2).