TV viewers face Olympics 'black screen'
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TV viewers face Olympics 'black screen'

Viewers who rely on a satellite or the internet for their TV signals may experience blackouts during broadcasts of the Olympic Games later this month, warns a free-TV executive.

Surin Krittayapongpan, vice-president of Channel 3, told a seminar on consumer solutions for licensed broadcasts yesterday that since the Television Pool of Thailand or TV Pool had bought only terrestrial broadcast rights for the Olympics, a "black screen" phenomenon similar to what happened during the Euro 2012 football tournament could happen again.

The summer Olympics in London will run from July 27 to Aug 12.

Mr Surin said the right to terrestrial broadcasts, receivable by conventional antennae, does not cover any satellite or internet platform.

True Visions, however, has its own licence to broadcast the Olympics through its nine HD channels.

Mr Surin said he is confident the TV Pool will try its best to negotiate with all concerned to make sure the public, most of whom have switched from antennae to satellite feeds, has a chance to watch the Olympics.

Nusara Kanchanakul, from the Department of Intellectual Property Rights, said Thai copyright law allows a rights holder to pass on that right to others as long as they do not abuse it.

However, in a case filed by the Foundation for Consumers against Grammy, licence holder for the broadcast of Euro 2012 held last month, the Civil Court ruled that it could not order Grammy to pass on the right and allow the football tournament to be broadcast on all platforms.

Supinya Klangnarong, a commissioner of the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission, said if the broadcast business continues to function in such a divided manner, consumers will lose out.

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