Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Brazil Leads Inception of Digital TV in S.America

Chile still undecided on what format to adopt

While the Chilean government must decide this year on what Digital TV format (American, European or Japanese) will be implemented, in 2007 Brazil already began using the ISDB-T system developed in Japan. With a population of 190 million that accounts for nearly half of the South American total, Chile cannot overlook the decision taken by Brazil. The minister of Science and Technology, Sergio Resende declared recently that after Sao Paulo, the next cities to implement digital TV in 2008 will be Rio de Janeiro, Belo Horizonte and Curitiba. Resende has invited Chilean scientists to work at the Center for Digital Studies that will be opened in Brasilia. Maybe this step will help to convince the Chilean authorities to adopt the Japanese ISDB-T format, that according to Roberto Franco, head of the Brazilian Digital TV Forum is superior to the other two systems. In a recent interview with El Mercurio, a Chilean newspaper, Franco explained why Brazil adopted ISDB-T. “The main advantage of ISDB-T is that it transmits TV signals to mobile phones immediately. The American (ATSC) and European (DVB-T) formats need to add further infrastructure and plug-ins to receive TV signals in mobiles. “ said Franco.
Also Brazil made a wise decision and implemented the Japanese system with an important variation: the MPEG-4 image compression system was added instead of the normal MPEG-2 used in Japan which is less efficient. With Digital TV, up to four channels can be transmitted where previously one existed, but with MPEG-4 this number increases to eight channels.
In Chile the debate still continues since the National Television Association (an organization that groups six open TV stations) is in favor of adopting the American ATSC format, while the government has declared its preference for the DVB-T system from Europe. However, Chilean citizens must not get alarmed since analogic TV signals will continue to be transmitted for another ten years and to receive digital TV the users will only have to implement a “set top box” decoder that at present costs US$ 40.
At present ATSC is being used in North America (U.S.A, Canada and Mexico) in Honduras (Central America) and in the Republic of Korea ( Asia). Europe’s DVB-T format has been adopted in 50 countries and in South America, Uruguay has been the only country to implement it.

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