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NBTC backs new digital TV standard

The National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commis-sion (NBTC) says operators of digital TV networks could link their main towers to rebroadcast units in the provinces via DVB-S2 transmission and with fibre-optic cable.

DVB-S2 (digital video broadcasting-satellite second generation) is a broadcast standard that has been designed as a successor to the popular DVB-S system. With this version, network operators can carry both standard- and high-definition programmes to end users.

Pasu Srihirun, acting executive director of the NBTC's broadcasting resourcing and research bureau, told The Nation that the four state-run TV broadcasters would be able to offer the DVB-S2 standard to digital terrestrial channel operators as an uplink-downlink tool to comply with the commission's "must carry" rule. The state broadcasters are the Royal Army, MCOT, the Public Relations Department and Thai Public Broadcasting Service.

Meanwhile, digital TV operators are likely to adopt DVB-S2 for links between their main broadcasting towers and rebroadcast sites. MCOT is among the providers that have expressed interest in offering such a service to channel operators.

Chalit Lailikit, executive vice president and acting senior vice president for network operations at MCOT, told The Nation that under his company's network-expansion plan, he would consider using the DVB-S2 standard. It would allow clients to deliver HD programmes.

He added that DVB-S2 was more cost-efficient than DVB-S as it consumed less bandwidth.

For digital-TV network leasing, MCOT's monthly rates are Bt4.76 million for an SD channel and Bt14.28 million for an HD. MCOT targets 98-per-cent coverage by 2015. The firm has earmarked at least Bt5 billion for its transition.

Niran Tangpiroontham, president of the Satellite Dish Club, said that if DVB-S2 worked, it would present a huge opportunity for distributors and manufacturers of satellite TV receivers to start selling DVB-S2 set-top boxes. Most set-top boxes in Thailand are DVB-S type, and cannot receive DVB-S2 signals.


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