High definition broadcast on digital free TV

We are five years shy of meeting the analog shutdown deadline, which means by that time a majority of the Philippine TV market would have migrated to digital terrestrial TV. While we’re at it (that is the transition stage), we will see how our television networks are faring in terms of delivering content.

As most of us know (at least the very basic knowledge, the more technical aspects we’ll leave to the professionals), our system ISDB-T adopted from Japan has the capacity to either deliver 8 standard definition multiplexes or 2 (in the case of state-owned PTV, three) high definition multiplexes.

Our television networks has already switched to HD-ready equipment? But in terms of broadcasting in the resolution? To put it mildly, we’re getting there.

Those broadcasting in full high definition at present are minor networks and religious broadcasters: CNN Philippines, PTV (PTV HD1 airs the main Channel 4, PTV HD2 airs reels from RTVM and the PCOO, PTV HD3 broadcasts Salaam TV and Lumad TV dedicated to the Moro and Lumad communities), Pastor Quiboloy’s SMNI News Channel, UNTV-BMPI’s Social TV and the MCGI-affiliated Truth Channel, Adventist-owned Hope Channel Philippines and GNN (which leases space on Hope Channel’s multipex), JIL’s Light TV (albeit upscaled), and the secular and religious-oriented channels of the Iglesia ni Cristo (INC TV and NET25).

As for the major networks, ABS-CBN at present exclusively offers the HD versions of their main terrestrial channels (Channel 2 and S+A) and monetizes DTT through exclusive channels (that should change). TV5 meanwhile has HD channels through Colours, Hyper, PBA Rush, and One News, and that should mean they have the funds to fully switch to HD (most of their programs are now in the said format). As for GMA, much of their programs are now produced in full HD but insists on stretching them to 4:3 to benefit those still in CRT and disappoints some of the viewing public. But times are changing, and they haven’t much utilized their bandwidth yet, which gives them space to air in HD.

You might mistake this as an angalysta rant just like the others, but merely voicing out frustrations. But we may never know, as we’re still in the process of transition and there are more surprises in store for us.


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