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ABS-CBN getting ready to introduce digital TV
[May 05, 2013]

ABS-CBN getting ready to introduce digital TV

May 05, 2013 (The Manila Times - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) -- ABS-CBN Corp. will go into digital terrestrial television (DTV) and cable TV to bring clear TV viewing to millions of Filipino households.

"Digital terrestrial television will diminish the effect of development in the transmission of content, and help the government fulfill its mandate of providing citizens access to information as it enables them to view more channels clearly," said Miguel Mercado, marketing head of ABS-CBN DTV.

Digital television is an innovative transmitting technology that has transformed television-viewing experience. It has enabled broadcasters to offer television with better picture and sound quality. It also offers multiple programming choices.

The Lopez-led broadcasting company said that 80 percent of households in the country today do not have cable TV, and majority of these households belong to the DE socioeconomic class, who could not afford to subscribe to cable TV services.

Of this number, less than 52 percent of households receive only two channels of tolerable quality with the current analog TV transmission, and it is unlikely that they will get better TV reception given the developments in urban cities that are barring TV signal transmission.

Earlier, the network said that it spent almost a billion pesos to go into digital TV.

"We're just waiting for the government to make any announcement as soon as they made the announcement we make sure that we are ready," said Rolando Valdueza, chief financial officer of ABS-CBN.

"If there is announcement, I think we are ready to spent about a billion for DTV," he added.

Future of television In April 2011, the National Telecommunication Commission ordered all broadcasting companies in the Philippines to shut off their analog signal by December 2015 and switch to digital broadcast.

ABS-CBN has been investing heavily on infrastructure and test broadcast activities in the past six years to ensure a smooth transition to DTV, which offers viewers digital clear picture and sound for all existing channels, and also more content as each network can broadcast in more than one channel.

DTV, globally considered as the future of television, was originally discussed to totally replace by 2015 the existing analog broadcast transmission system in the Philippines that is plagued by issues on poor reception nationwide.

Enhance viewing experience In 1990, ABS-CBN pioneered "pay television" in the country via SkyCable, which has enhanced the viewing experience of Filipinos by giving them access to hundreds of local and international channels.

The 23-year-old company continues to be a force in the pay television circuit and is coming from a series of victories, including a partnership with Singapore Technologies Telemedia that brought in P3.9-billion capital to the company, the overwhelming success of SkyCable Plan 499, and the acquisition of Destiny Cable, which raised its number of subscribers from 500,000 to 700,000.

However, Mercado said that only 20 percent of Filipino households have cable, and they are the only ones who enjoy clear picture and audio quality as opposed to the experience of the majority of Filipinos. He said that this is ABS-CBN's biggest motivation in preparing for DTT.

"All the network's efforts of producing world-class programs are for naught if the content cannot be viewed and appreciated in its true value, if it even reaches the people at all," he said.

Besides cable TV and DTT, ABS-CBN is also credited for other innovations such as being the first network to broadcast in color in 1968, and the first to broadcast a locally produced program and live event in high definition in 2009.

"But the main reason we continue to innovate is to give the people a choice, an access to a wealth of information and entertainment that analog transmission simply cannot address very well," Mercado said.

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