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Philippines : Digital TV coverage expansion set by ABS-CBN.

ABS-CBN Corp., the media holding company of the Lopez group, is investing more to extend the reach of its digital television service, which it introduced ahead of competitors on Feb. 11.

ABS-CBN group chief financial officer Rolando Valdueza said that the company would spend another P600 million to introduce the digital television to at least four other areas: Cagayan de Oro, Bacolod, Iloilo and Davao.

He said that the comes on top of the P3 billion the company had spent so far to introduce the service to major markets like Metro Manila and nearby provinces, such as Pampanga, Pangasinan, Nueva Ecija, Tarlac, Benguet, as well as Metro Cebu.

Valdueza said, We want to see how the market will respond, at the sidelines of the launch. He said ABS-CBN had been testing and preparing the service since 2007.

He said, But you have to remember, the cheapest form of entertainment in this country is television. So hopefully, most of our people will really enjoy watching Digital TV .

The rollout of the digital television, which promises clearer picture and sound quality alongside more channels, comes after the National Telecommunications Commission finalized the implementing guidelines in December 2014.

There are 17 million TV homes 50 percent don t get a clear signal. So we are hoping this finally gets them clear TV signal, ABS-CBN Convergence Inc. president Carlo Katigbak said in a separate interview.

The Philippines previously selected the Japanese standard, or Integrated Services Digital Broadcasting (ISDB) platform, over its European counterpart, stated that it was cheaper and it permitted built-in warning system to inform people about natural calamities.

At the center of the service is the so-called ABS-CBN TVplus box, a device connected to a television set which would allow viewers to avail themselves of the digital TV service. The box will retail for P2,500, which ABS-CBN said was a one-time payment for the box, which is designed to last about 5 years.

ABS-CBN is the first TV network to present the product in the country. This project materialized after investing heavily in infrastructure and test broadcast activities in the past 7 years to ensure a smooth transition to digital television.

The company s launch this week was in accordance with the NTC s necessity that broadcasters transmit both analog and digital services within one year upon effectivity of the release of the implementing rules. Rival television broadcast firm GMA Network Inc. had in addition declared that it was readying its digital television service.

NTC Commissioner Gamaliel Cordoba said that this was the first step of a so-called migration plan that would need the complete shut-off of the analog system in 3 to 5 years.

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Publication:Mena Report
Geographic Code:9PHIL
Date:Feb 14, 2015
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