GMA to Launch Digital TV by First Half Next Year

MANILA, Philippines – GMA Network, Inc. (PSE:GMA7) is eyeing to launch its digital terrestrial television (DTT) commercially by the first six months of 2017 given it has finalized the technical work for its dislodge to current analog standard.

The media network allotted P416 million for DTT’s transmitter facilities, fully mirrored head-end system, and connectivity requirements. Through its completion of technicalities, GMA is anticipating to unveil different by outperforming digital TV products.

Felipe L. Gozon, GMA Chairman and CEO, told the reporters in a recent interview that the broadcasting giant is already testing and experimenting. Presently, they are working on the commercial side since the technical part has been concluded. Gozon added that they could likely roll out in the first two quarters of 2017. However, the chairman could not be specific with the schedule, but he could be certain it is next year.

Gozon further clarified that GMA would introduce more interactive products given ABS-CBN Corp. (PSE:ABS), its biggest rival, has existing offerings under digital TV. He claimed that theirs is synergistic not only in one way. Instead, the users of the products could choose programs, chat, play games, and even establish a watch-it-later list. From this perspective, GMA’s products would be different. Gozon added that their DTT items would allow for subscription plans and advertisement placement.

Gozon stated that their DTT products are similar to cable, but not entirely, particularly because there are three to four channels free for the subscribers.

The media network is adapting Japan’s DTT system, which was endorsed by the government and is known as the Integrated Services Digital Broadcast Terrestrial (ISDB-T). The company was able to accommodate the scheme under the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) rules and regulations.

GMA noted that it is about to leave the testing stage, and will commence the first part of DTT rollout in Mega Manila. Since the project’s technical side has been prepared for a long time, inclusive of broadcast automation and media asset management systems, a launching may ensue.

Since the DTT products of GMA has diverse contents, it must be anticipated that it could be a slightly pricier than products currently offered. Gozon stated that it may not be cheaper for you could do more with its use compared with the ABS-CBN TV Plus.

Earlier, the GMA New Media, Inc., a subsidiary of the large network introduced the DTT product prototype, which could serve as receiver for digital media set-top box and digital television. According to GMA, the device could provide digital broadcast services on analog TV and convert as a smart TV.

About the Author
The Stock Signals Philippines is the online news media arm of Equilyst Analytics. Inc., an SEC-registered stock market consultancy firm in the Philippines that guides Filipinos on long-term investing and short-term trading and offers mentoring services.

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