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Frost says "Transition testing has a real impact on Thailand's Digital TV movement"

BANGKOK, April 1, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Today ( Apr 1st, 14) marked another step for Digital TV (DTV) in Thailand as The National Broadcasting and Telecommunication commission (NBTC) began the "Transition Testing" period with the broadcasting coverage over 4 cities: Bangkok, Chiangmai, Songkhla, and Nakhon Ratchasima. This trial period will continue to April 24th before the full broadcasting begins in June this year.

The main purpose of the trial period is to run a pilot test on the campaign and a technical test on signal transmission. Meanwhile, it is also an opportunity for ground level broadcasters such as MCOT, ThaiPBS, and CH5 to work with 24 digital channel content providers. TV broadcasters whom participate in this trial period will be allowed to air their content without strict rules on program listings, yet they are not allowed to account any revenues from broadcasting throughout this period. Though NBTC did not issue a mandate that all channel licensees have to participate in this trial phase, Frost & Sullivan believes that participation in this trial period has high significance and all stakeholders should closely monitor the outcome.

Mr. Teera Kanokkanjanarat, senior ICT industry analyst from Frost & Sullivan Thailand said, "This transition testing period is highly important in terms of finding technical errors and potential difficulties before the full launch in June. For existing TV broadcasters with content ready in analog such as VoiceTV or Daily News, this trial period allows them to gain feedback on coverage and quality of the HD platform. Meanwhile for new entrants such as Thairath and PPTV, this testing period will help them assess technical readiness and public reception."

"For NBTC and spectrum providers, although this trial period will have coverage limited to 4 cities, the feedback will provide good evaluation on the network coverage, signal transmission quality, digital cliff, public comments, technical emergencies, and effectiveness of the current public relation campaign."

Frost and Sullivan believes that lessons and case studies on DTV transition from other countries can be used as guidelines and provide lessons for Thailand's DTV roadmap.

"Thailand's DTV roadmap has a lot similarities compared to the DTV transition done in the USA. During the transition period, the US Federal Communications Commission decided to use Wilmington, North Carolina as the DTV test market. Although the FCC had done a significant amount of public relations in many media channels prior to the launch, it turned out that more than 7% of the population had technical difficulties. The FCC call center also received over 1,800 phone calls on reception problems, mainly on set top box configuration, antenna setup, and signal scanning. There was also a large number of the population with limited understanding of the DTV system. The issues escalated to the point that congress had to look at the possibility of delaying the launch date." – Teera added

This transitional testing period has a real impact on the future of DTV in Thailand. And all stakeholders should closely monitor movement and feedback, both from TV broadcasters and the general public point of views.

"Digital TV provides a higher quality picture and voice quality. However, what entails is the risk of signal loss and lack of coverage in remote areas, or the 'digital cliff'. In analog broadcasting, TV viewers in some area with a strong signal will get clear reception, meanwhile some remote areas with a weaker signal will experience limited picture quality, but still be able to view the program. However, under digital signal broadcast, the viewing will either be perfect or not at all (showing a black screen, if the signal is not strong enough). This issue bears significant importance since more than 2 out of 3 in the entire Thai populations live in upcountry provinces." – Teera added.

Further information or interview, please contact
Sasikarn Watt
Corporate Communications – Thailand, Frost & Sullivan
Tel. +66 2 637 7414
Email: [email protected]

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