The National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) is planning to require broadcast networks to shut off their analog channels as early as 2018.
Interaksyon.com broke the news, citing NTC chief Gamaliel Cordoba who said that the government is priming the country’s inevitable shift to digital terrestrial TV (DTT).
Cordoba said that the roll-out will be determined by a migration plan, which will be created by the NTC, National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA), Department of Trade and Industry and the Department of Science and Technology (DOST)- Information and Communications Technology Office.
A draft of the implementing rules and regulations (IRR) for the transmission shift released last month stated that Japan’s Integrated Services Digital Broadcast-Terrestrial (ISDB-T) standard will be adopted for DTT services in the Philippines.
Viewers will also be affected by the shift since not all TVs are compatible with DTT. A set top box can be installed to receive DTT signals but costing at around $11, the price could be prohibitive for some Filipinos. In light of this, sellers of brand new TVs are expected to indicate whether the units can receive analog signals only or whether it can receive ISDB-T programs.
According to the NTC, around 90% of the Philippines’ 17 million TV viewers are not cable TV subscribers and rely on free-to-air programming for entertainment and news.