NBTC to issue digital TV coupons

Digital television manufacturers are welcoming the plan by CAT Telecom plan to hand out discount coupons for set top boxes and new digital televisions to 22 million households.

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Prapat Rathlertkarn, deputy secretary-general of the Thai Electrical, Electronics and Telecommunication Industries Association (TETA), said the intention of the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC) to switch from analog to digital television  will generate more than 20 billion baht from the sales of converter boxes alone.

It would help boost sales of digital televisions to about 500,000 units per year, Mr Prapat said.

TETA  has urged NBTC to allow Thai manufacturers to produce the digital converter boxes eligible for discounts  under the coupons to be distributed by NBTC. Once the plan has been approved, the manufacturers could move to produce the set top boxes within six months, he said.

Alongkorn Chujit, the president of LG Electronics (Thailand), said manufacturers are waiting to see how the NBTC will decide on the issue. He said there is no problem with production capacity as the company is already selling digital television sets, which are about 30% more expensive than the conventional televisions.

CAT vice president  Natee Sukonrat, who is the NBTC head, reported that CAT has decided to help consumers switching to digital television broadcasts by handing out vouchers which could be used toward discounts on converter boxes, or new digital television sets, to all 22 million households. The coupons’ exact value will be determined by July and will be based on the digital signal bidding on 24 channels.

Related search: Digital television, NBTC Thailand, broadcasting

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