NBTC panel orders MCOT to stop broadcasting analog Channel 3 shows on digital network

Corporate April 29, 2014 00:00

By Usanee Mongkolporn
The Nation

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The broadcasting committee of the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC) yesterday ordered MCOT to remove Channel 3 analog programmes from its digital TV network, saying that carrying the channel was against regulations.

This means that people with digital set-top boxes known as DVB-T2 will soon not be able use them to view Channel 3 analog programmes. Currently people can view Channel 3 analog programmes via three ways: a conventional terrestrial antenna, a satellite set-top box, and DVB-T2 boxes. 
Natee Sukolrat, chairman of the broadcasting committee, said the NBTC would soon ask MCOT for its cooperation in withdrawing this analog channel from its digital TV network. It is against NBTC regulations for digital TV network operators such as MCOT to uplink content of any non-digital channels to their digital networks.
MCOT president Anake Permvongseri yesterday acknowledged that MCOT had carried Channel 3 analog programmes on its digital network, under an agreement with the channel’s operator Bangkok Entertainment Co. 
Bangkok Entertainment has operated analog TV programmes under an MCOT concession contract, which will expire in 2020. 
Anake said MCOT would continue to carry the analog Channel 3 as usual until it receives formal written notice from the NBTC. This means the channel will still be on the MCOT network for a few days.
Natee said that if MCOT declined to stop broadcasting the Channel 3 analog channel, the NBTC would send a warning letter to MCOT. 
Since the 24 commercial digital TV licences officially came into effect on Friday, the NBTC found that Channel 3 analog programmes were also being aired via the MCOT network. This enabled all the users of DVB-T2 boxes to watch Channel 3 analog.
Channel 3 has hired Thai PBS to broadcast its three digital TV channels on the TPBS network.
The NBTC is consulting its legal department on which date should mark the official launch of all 24 digital commercial channels. That will be the date the satellite TV operators have to stop carrying analog programmes on their networks, except when such programmes are run on a simulcast basis.
Channel 3 is the only TV operator declining to simulcast its analog TV programmes. It recently announced its decision to run analog programmes together with the three digital programmes.
Yesterday the NBTC broadcasting committee also approved a proposal of MCOT to simulcast its analog channel on its high-definition channel.
However, Anake said MCOT had considered asking the NBTC to withdraw this approved simulcast plan, as it wants to air both analog and digital channels at the same time to test the response from targeted viewers.

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