The Jakarta Post
Laos and other Asean member countries are pushing towards full digital television and radio broadcasting across the region by 2015 despite severe gaps in the progress made by each country.
Media and communications officials and specialists from Asean countries met in Vientiane yesterday to report on progress made in introducing digital broadcasting as part of the 12th Asean Digital Broadcasting Meeting.
Participants at the 12th Asean Digital Broadcasting Meeting, which opened in Vientiane yesterday, watch a television set fitted with a digital tuner.
Lao National Radio deputy director general, Phosy Keomanyvong, told Vientiane Times Laos was in the process of financing the rollout of digital broadcasts for Lao National Radio and Television, and system installation would begin as soon as funding was sourced.
Digital television was switched on in some major towns in Laos in 2007, including Vientiane and Luang Prabang, by Chinese Yunnan Television, Lao National Television and the Lao Science and Technology Development Company, using the Chinese Digital Terrestrial Multimedia Broadcast (DTMB) system and standards.
Phosy, who is head of the Lao sub-committee on technology for the digital broadcast rollout, said Laos would use the DTMB for National Radio and Television in all major towns by 2015, and the signal would cover the entire nation by 2020, after which the analogue signal would be switched off.
In Laos' neighbouring countries, the Thai Army Channel 5 is currently undertaking a pilot project using the European Digital Video Broadcasting ' Terrestrial 2 (DVB-T) standards system to produce programmes in digital high definition while broadcasting in analogue.
Cambodia is using South Korean Terrestrial Digital Multimedia Broadcasting technology alongside the Chinese DTMB and European DVB-T, with One TV station launching on a new digital platform in September last year, offering 60 Cambodian and international digital channels.
The station is able to reach 70 per cent of the country's population.
In Vietnam, both state and private broadcast enterprises are launching digital television broadcasts with the DVB-T2/MPEG4 system, introduced with the cancellation of the DVB-T/MPEG2 system.
By next year, television sets bigger than 32 inches sold in Vietnam will include digital tuners.
Vietnam plans to switch off the analogue signal in Danang province in 2015.
According Phosy, Singapore is the most progressive country in Asean in terms of digital broadcasting, having already introduced standard digital television using the DVB-T2 system.
Singapore plans to broadcast all television through a terrestrial digital high definition system by 2016.
In his opening remarks at the meeting, the Ministry of Information, Culture and Tourism's Department of Mass Media director general, Pineprathana Phanthamaly, said the Lao government attached great importance to and supported the move from analogue to digital transmission to enable the Lao public to enjoy high quality broadcasts.
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