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Brazil abandoning plans to develop its own digital TV standard
[July 14, 2005]

Brazil abandoning plans to develop its own digital TV standard

Brazil will abandon its quest to develop a digital TV standard of its own and restart negotiations with foreign groups to determine which system best suits Latin America's largest nation, officials said Wednesday.

Communications Minister Helio Costa said Brazil's efforts to develop its own standard were unworkable considering the lack of research money devoted to the effort.

"Unfortunately, I confess we don't have the conditions to develop a digital TV standard," Costa told reporters.

"We might even have the technical capacity. But how to develop a standard with 80 million reals (US$34 million or euro27.9 million) ?" he said referring to the amount of money the government had devoted to the research project.

Costa pointed out that the U.S. spent US$2.8 billion (euro2.3 billion) to develop its Advanced Television Systems Committee standard. Japan poured about US$3 billion (euro2.46 billion) into creating its ISDB -- the Terrestrial Integrated Services Digital Broadcasting.

Another candidate for Brazil to accept the digital standard from Europe's Digital Video Broadcasting.

Brazil had been leaning heavily toward Japan's ISDB standard during the administration of former-President Fernando Henrique Cardoso and hoped to have it working by 2003.

But those plans ended when President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva was elected in 2002 and the government announced it would develop its own digital TV standard.

In a country with more than 120 million TV viewers and where more homes have a TV set than a refrigerator, Brazil represents a very attractive market for digital TV manufacturers.

The country's decision will also likely influence standards across the region.

"Where Brazil goes, a large part of Latin America will go with us," Costa said.

He said he would begin meetings with representatives from the three digital standard consortia within the next two months.

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