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Tuesday, February 27, 2024

NTC plans to postpone analog TV broadcasting shutoff this year

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The National Telecommunications Commission will unlikely shut off analog television broadcasting this year because of the slow adoption of digital terrestrial TV among households in the provinces, a top official said Tuesday.

“We’re looking at this year [analog shutdown], but it’s still tentative,” NTC commissioner Ella Blanca Lopez said.

The government was planning to stop the analog TV broadcast in 2023, but Lopez said most of the households, particularly in the provinces, were not digital-ready.

The Department of Information and Communications Technology earlier estimated that more than 14 million households nationwide were still relying on free-to-air analog TV broadcast.

“It would be difficult to shut down, when not all were digital-ready,” Lopez said, adding digital TV penetration in the country remained below 50 percent.

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“The penetration rate in Metro Manila is high, but not in the provinces. Networks rolled out their digital [systems], so we will get there,” she said.

GMA Network Inc. announced last year an additional investment of more than P1 billion for the expansion of its digital TV coverage nationwide.

It rolled out GMA Affordabox—a plug-and-play device that can easily be connected to an analog TV in order to receive digital television broadcast.

TV5 Network Inc. in September 2021 launched its DTT set top box called Sulit TV Box, while ABS-CBN Corp. introduced TVplus box in 2015.

The NTC issued Memorandum Circular No. 05-11-2013 in November 2013, adopting Japan’s ISDB-T standard for the Philippines’ migration to digital TV.

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