Transition from Analog to Digital Broadcasting a National Priority (25/08/2010)
Minister to the Prime Minister’s Office Ong art Klampaiboon has stated that Thailand is planning to make the transition from analog to digital broadcasting a national priority.

Minister Ong art discussed the digitization of television broadcasting with Mr. Tetsuo Yamakawa, Vice Minister for International Affairs, Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications of Japan, known in short as MIC. Mr. Yamakawa met him on 24 August 2010 at Parliament Building in Bangkok, and also joining the meeting was Mrs. Ladavan Bua-aim, Deputy Director-General of the Government Public Relations Department (PRD).

Mr. Yamakawa assumed office recently and took this opportunity to meet authorities involved with Thailand’s telecommunication development to discuss the issue of digital broadcasting. He told Minister Ong art that Japan would complete the termination of analog broadcasting in July 2011. The migration to digital terrestrial broadcasting was cited as not only a major project carried out by MIC, but also a significant step for the Japanese government in its broadcasting history.

Mr. Yamakawa said that he visited Latin America last week and learned that, apart from Uruguay and Colombia, other countries in South America had also decided to adopt the Integrated Service Digital Broadcasting – Terrestrial, or ISDB-T, which is a Japanese standard for digital television. Argentina, in particular, is using the Japanese one-segment broadcasting standard. He said that the system in Latin America with the MPEG-4 format provides better picture and sound quality than that in Japan, which now uses MPEG-2. (The Motion Picture Experts Group is a standards body made up of many large companies involved in technology and content creation in the video industry.)

Minister Ong art said that, since assuming his position as Minister to the Prime Minister’s Office in June 2010, he has held discussions with relevant agencies on the process of moving from analog to digital broadcasting. The process is unavoidable, as Thailand and its ASEAN partners had agreed to switch from analog to digital broadcasting by 2015, and later the schedule was changed to 2020. He said that Thailand was now considering what would be the most suitable digital system for the country.

Concerning this issue, Mr. Yamakawa urged Thailand to consider using the Japanese system, saying that the Japanese government is ready to cooperate in providing testing for Thailand, to help it make its decision on an appropriate standard for the country. Japan is also holding talks with Africa to urge the region to use the Japanese system, as well. He said that the Philippines had also decided to turn to the Japanese system.

Minister Ong art said that the Japanese system is also being considered by Thailand, since it has been developed and recognized to a great extent. He said that PRD, supervised by him, had organized a seminar on preparations for digitization on 8 July 2010, and representatives from Japan also attended the seminar.

The seminar was intended to map out the policy of transforming from analog to digital broadcasting. It also included such topics as necessity, advantages, and impacts of digitization, digital broadcasting standards from various countries, cost-benefit analysis, and suggestions that would enable Thailand to prepare itself to migrate to digital broadcasting.

The Ninth Conference of the ASEAN Ministers Responsible for Information (AMRI), held on 24 May 2007 in Jakarta, Indonesia, endorsed DVB-T as the ASEAN common digital terrestrial broadcasting standard. DVB-T, which stands for Digital Video Broadcasting – Terrestrial, is the DVB European-based consortium standard for the broadcast transmission of digital terrestrial television.

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