BROADCASTING & TECHNOLOGY
Three free TV stations began digital broadcasting trials yesterday after signing of the memorandum of understanding with regulators.
The Royal Thai Army, the operator of TV5; MCOT Plc, the operator of Modernine TV; and the Public Relations Department, which runs the NBT channel (Channel 11), signed the agreement with the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC).
They agreed to broadcast programmes in high definition (HD) via digital terrestrial TV.
The other TV operators _ BEC World, which operates Channel 3, and BBTV, which runs Channel 7 _ are also allowed to join the trial if they wish.
All free TV stations can broadcast in HD on a trial basis for a renewable six-month term.
Initially, the trial will cover Bangkok and nearby provinces. NBT will also broadcast digitally in Chiang Mai.
Col Natee Sukonrat, chairman of the NBTC's broadcasting committee, said the trial aimed to increase awareness among viewers on digital TV. It will also help gauge demand for technical support and determine field teams.
The NBTC's roadmap for 2012-2016 stipulates nationwide TV broadcasting digitalisation within 10 years, replacing the existing analogue system starting from January 2015.
One consideration is for the state to subsidise some of the costs of set-top boxes or devices so that more viewers can afford the technology, he said.
In another development, the NBTC said it was prioritising the granting of digital terrestrial network-provider licences to TV5, MCOT and NBT, as they already had their own broadcasting networks and spectra before the 2008 Radio and Television Broadcasting Business Act.
Based on its regulations on licensing for network providers and spectrum holders for digital TV, the broadcaster with the highest coverage rate in the first year would be the first to win a digital terrestrial broadcasting licence.
Operators are bound to cover at least 50% of total households within the first year of operation, 80% in the second, 90% the third and 95% the fourth.
About the author
- Writer: Komsan Tortermvasana
Position: Senior Business Reporter