ISDB-T International - Start of Regular Broadcasts and Implementation Status

Start of Regular Broadcasts and Implementation Status

Regular SBTVD broadcasts started on December 2, 2007, initially in São Paulo. By January 2008, the system had also launched in these other Brazilian cities: Rio de Janeiro, Belo Horizonte, Goiânia, Porto Alegre, Curitiba, Campinas, Cuiabá, Salvador, Florianópolis, Vitória, Uberlândia, São José do Rio Preto, Teresina, Santos, Brasília, Campo Grande, Fortaleza, Recife, João Pessoa, Sorocaba, Mogi das Cruzes, Ribeirão Preto, Manaus, Belém, Joinville, Aracaju, Londrina, São Luiz, Araraquara and Natal.

From the broadcasters' point of view, the DTV implementation in Brazil seems to be very successful if compared with the implementation process in other countries. After 16 months, the digital TV signal covered almost 50% of the Brazilian population. For the consumers, the DTV implementation is being taken up more slowly, because of the prices of new DTV sets and set top boxes, and failure to understand the new technology and/or its benefits.

A new push in set-top box and DTV sets sales is expected with the final specification of Ginga middleware that will allow interactive use of TV.

Ginga 1.0 (a first implementation of Ginga) was already released for use by set-top box/DTV manufacturers, using NCL(Nested Context Language)/Lua as its declarative programming language. That part of Ginga is called Ginga-NCL. However, the complete Ginga middleware specification was planned to present the declarative NCL module and procedural Java module to allow programmers, manufacturers and users to take the best from the two environments: declarative and procedural.

The Java part of Ginga, called Ginga-J, had its specification approved by the SBTVD Forum in April 2009. The same forum declared that the APIs set developed by Sun Microsystems, called Java-DTV, is the standard for SBTVD system, after negotiations with Sun Microsystems to reduce royalties in 15%. Hence, the royalty cost defined by Sun for Java-DTV is much more affordable than that charged by GEM APIs owners (GEM middleware is used in DVB-T - the European DTV standard). That will benefit development of interactive set-top boxes and TV sets keeping them cheaper than if GEM was used as middleware or even if GEM APIs were used with Ginga-J.

In the 3rd quarter 2009 the first set-top boxes and TV sets with complete Ginga middleware (Ginga-NCL and Ginga-J) were available in the market. That date match with the release of first interactive programs to be broadcast by television companies.

At launch on December 2, 2007, set-top boxes were available for prices ranging between R$900 (~US$450) and R$1200 (~US$600), inhibiting sales. But after 8 months the prices dropped quickly to around R$300 (~US$150). The Federal Government announced subsidies worth 1 billion Reais (~US$ 556 millions) so these prices will face a new reduction phase.

By May 2009 a 42 inches LCD TV FullHD (1920×1080) with built-in Digital TV tuner and special characteristics such as double presentation rate (120 Hz) and exceptional contrast (50.000:1) was being sold for R$3,600.00 (~US$1,800.00) in São Paulo City, a very impressive price reduction for such a quality product, and other basic devices present even lower prices. However, until September 2009 the smallest TV that could be bought with an integrated digital tuner was a 32 inches LCD TV. This is slowing down the adoption of digital TV in Brazil, since most people that watch FTA TV cannot afford buying expensive LCD TVs, and 21 and 29 inches CRT TVs are still very popular among the low income population and can be bought for about R$400–600 (US$200–300).

Sales of mobile receivers (for Notebooks, mobile DTV sets and mobile phones with a built-in DTV receiver) are increasing very fast and it seems that mobility is perceived by consumers as a more attractive SBTVD/ISDB-T feature than HD or Full HD definition. The SBTVD/ISDB-T standard allows a very impressive mobile reception, with high quality and steady image, without noise, excellent audio and very robust reception even in the presence of signal reflection, electromagnetic or impulsive interference.

According to the Brazilian government, analog shutdown is scheduled for 2016. Peru, Argentina, Chile and Venezuela are planning the deployment before announcing their analog shutdown date.

Read more about this topic:  ISDB-T International

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