South Asia`s inaugural Terrestrial Digital Television Broadcast went on air yesterday with the commencement of Dialog Televisions Pilot Launch of DVB?T (Digital Video Broadcast ? Terrestrial) based Terrestrial Digital Television covering the Greater Colombo area.
The DVB ?T broadcast standard enables digital broadcasts over the standard VHF/UHF television spectrum, enabling the consumer to access the digital broadcast using analogue televisions and VHF/UHF antennae with the addition of a DVB-T or a setup box.
The broadcast would also be available on vehicle-mounted devices such as car TV`s and via DVB-H technology on advanced GSM/3G handsets.
Dialog Telekom Group Chief Executive Dr. Hans Wijeyasuriya said that Dialog Telekom will merely act as a `platform` carrying signals and building infrastructure and not take on the role of a channel provider.
He added that that they expect to bridge the digital division and create uniformity across the country by providing consumers an opportunity to benefit from terrestrial digital television.
Dialog Television CEO Nushad Perera in the meantime emphasised that Dialog was a mere platform operator while adding that through this pilot project they initially intend to cover the areas spanning from Colombo, Wattala and Gampaha by installing 500 set-up boxes while the Eastern Province would be targeted during the 2nd phase.
Explaining the advantages a customer would reap from DVB-T he said `With this the customer can enjoy multiple channels with a single antenna, get crystal clear picture quality and digital sound. The broadcaster meanwhile has no need of setting up towers and transmitters there is zero capital expenditure to get island wide coverage while new channels can be deployed immediately.`
He also noted that as this is a pilot project launched by the Ministry of Mass Media and Information it would not be open for commercial use as yet.
Mass Media and Information minister Anura Priyadarshana Yapa said that the commencement of Dialog Televisions` Pilot launch of DVB -T was a milestone for terrestrial television and added that the government encourages the introduction of modern and efficient technology which provides multiple benefits to the public.
The pilot broadcast carried out by Dialog Television carries 9 television channels on a single UHF frequency with state channels such as Rupavahini, Channel Eye/Nethra, and ITN joining the band of private broadcasters such as Derana, Swarnavahini, and The Buddhist, along with two foreign channels that include Al Jazeera.
Dr. Wijesuriya noted that the digital booster box will be sold at an affordable price with no monthly rental and stressed that this pilot project was not a revenue generating operation but a testing ground for a suitable business and cost model.