INCTV and NET25 on digital television

Screengrabs taken from our TVplus box

Since the early part of January 2018, INCTV and NET25, the television arms of the Iglesia Ni Cristo through the religious-oriented Christian Era Broadcasting Service International (which also operates DZEM 954) and the more secular-oriented Eagle Broadcasting Corporation, has began broadcasting on full 16:9 in standard definition for both analog and digital television, including cable and satellite. This is after the Church-affiliated television stations restarted full-time broadcasts on digital television on September 5, 2017.

It may also be noticed that INCTV has already been broadcasting on both HD and SD on digital television since December 2017, and while NET25 has also converted to 16:9 on standard definition, its HD version, which arguably has better quality than its SD counterpart, is yet to be seen, as for now its frequency still carries 3 subchannels.

May it also be remembered that both channels have been testing the ISDB-T standard during the wee hours (12:00mn to 4:00am) since 2015, with six subchannels (2 high-definition channels, 2 standard-definition channels, and 2 one-segment channels), as the frequency (channel 49) was being used by INCTV on analog television since 2012 until September 2017, and with this INCTV transferred its analog signals on channel 48.

INCTV and NET25 can be seen on digital television via channel 49 (683.143 mhz) in Mega Manila. Hopefully, an expansion of its signal reach as some viewers complain they are not able to receive its signals and the conversion of INCTV and NET25 to full high-definition with the elimination of the SD feeds, if not expansion to other markets like Cebu, Davao, or Baguio for example would materialize, as the digital TV signal with clear HD quality would be a great boost in the propagation efforts of the Church.

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ARC Bids Farewell

After almost a year and a half of broadcasting, the ABS-CBN Regional Channel, along with sister channels Hero TV and Tag, has ceased broadcasting due to “a change in business directions”. In this piece we will discuss the various reasons why such a promising channel closed down.

Lack of programming choices

When this channel opened up, probably most of us (me included) were expecting the entire library of ABS-CBN Regional programming, alongside occasional live programming such as festival coverages and simulcasts from the regional stations, but those haven’t materialized. Also noticeable were the never-ending repeats of dubbed movies, magazine shows, MOR programs, and the airing of select TV Patrol editions.

Lack of support from the mother station

ABS-CBN Regional is also noticeably one of the least prioritized divisions of the network. When the main channel 2 is airing most of its programming on high-definition, the regional stations remains on standard definition. Also noticeable that when TV Patrol relaunched its graphics on July 2016, the rollout was slow. Even until now, TV Patrol Tacloban is still using the 2013 graphics.

Lack of distribution

ARC was only present on Sky Direct, Sky Cable and Destiny Cable Manila, and select cable providers, if any. Add to that a lack of advertiser support, these factors contributed to the channel’s demise.

This was ABS-CBN’s second experiment in having a channel broadcasting regional content, after the Sarimanok channel. ABS-CBN should be able to learn a lesson in this experience, and other networks should seize the opportunity and create a similar channel which will not fall into the same mistake.

A game pitch

We would like to use this opportunity to pitch an idea: a political simulation game where players are given the chance to run the Philippines through different scenarios, either during the Philippine Revolution, Philippine-American War, Commonwealth era, Japanese occupation, the post-war period, the Marcos years, and the post-EDSA administrations.

The players will also have the chance to play one of either the historical figures (like Bonifacio, Aguinaldo, Quezon, Magsaysay, Marcos, Aquino, etc.) or represent political parties as fictional figures (with the Nacionalistas, Liberals, Lakas-CMD, the old Partido Komunista ng Pilipinas-1930 or the more prominent Maoist CPP, and the like).

Players will also have the chance to navigate through economic and domestic policy as well as foreign policy and chart the course for our country’s development.

I am making this case because of my apparent craving for political simulation games and the disappointment that I don’t have the chance to play my own country, as well as other simulation games which requires you to pay, and in this case I would like the game to be free.

To our developers out there, I do hope you to consider this game pitch, not just for myself, but for everybody else.

With 72% of MM homes with DTT, it’s time to expand

A recent ABS-CBN News reports shows that as much as 72% of homes in Metro Manila have digitally-enabled TVs, i.e. those with set-top boxes or built-in tuners. With those figures, maybe it’s time to consider a massive expansion to the regions? 

Source: http://news.abs-cbn.com/business/10/04/17/72-in-metro-manila-watch-digitally-enabled-tv
In this article published by ABS-CBN News linked above, it shows that as much as 55% of homes without cable TVs have used their product ABS-CBN TVplus.

With these figures in mind, and with ABS-CBN hitting their targets (with 3.6 million boxes sold), ABS-CBN should probably start to consider setting up more markets for their TVplus, with the Metro Manila market becoming more saturated and other markets with digital TV presence (like Cebu, Davao, Cagayan de Oro, Bacolod, Iloilo, Baguio, surrounding provinces of Metro Manila) deserving more program choices.

The networks should set up in meeting the five-year period the NTC has given them to complete the transition, as more and more viewers being more aware and more regions waiting for their areas to be finally served, as digital TV offers clearer quality at par with cable or DTH compared with analog.

In this year alone, many developments have happened in Metro Manila. Light Network has  shut down its analog signal, Solar Entertainment increasing it power output, the MCGI launching their Truth Channel, a mystery channel appearing at channel 35, and the Iglesia ni Cristo-owned Net 25 and INC TV finally restarting digital broadcasts, while the regions are still stuck with ABS-CBN channels. 

In light of these developments, we should now start focusing in other markets and increasing coverage, it is much preferable if we meet targets in completing the transition ahead of schedule. 

On Donald Trump’s comments regarding General Pershing

With US President Donald Trump still reeling from the effects of his comments on the events in Charlottesville, Virginia and amid the most recent terror incident, this time in Barcelona, he once again entered himself to controversy when he tweeted on a long-debunked urban legend that dates back to the early years of American rule in the Philippines.

He talked about this particular story while he was campaigning, it was where General Pershing was said to have bullets dipped on pig’s blood, ostensibly to “fight” against “radical Islamic terrorism”.

It was immediately fact-checked by mainstream media, saying it never happened. But there must be another fact check, this time by us Filipinos.

At a time where our country is still reeling from the effects of the Marawi crisis which broke out on May 23, amid our long-standing efforts at rectifying the historic wrongs committed against the Moro people, this should be an outrage, as it is insensitive.

This is not about what Donald Trump says is about “radical Islamic terrorism”. This is about the Moro people’s efforts to resist American rule, at a time when the Americans came when Christian Filipinos have already declared independence from Spain and are already at the first steps of nation-building. When the Americans have mostly pacified the rest of the archipelago by 1901, the Moro people have continued their resistance until 1913.

We are at a time where we are correcting this historic injustice by arriving at constitutional reform, shifting from a unitary to a federal form of government. At a time we are trying to build a lasting peace, we are also encouraging economic development in Mindanao after decades-long conflict, to discourage people from resorting to extremist ideology espoused by groups such as ISIS.

Donald Trump should have been circumspect before speaking, as he would risk alienating an ally, as he has offered support for the Philippines to combat the Maute group in Marawi.

The Philippines has already been at odds with the United States since President Rodrigo Duterte took office on June 2016, over the controversial war on drugs which Trump has praised. In his 2017 State of the Nation Address, Duterte asked for the return of the Balangiga bells stolen since the 1899 Philippine-American War. This would further complicate efforts to resolve long-standing issues haunting US-Philippines relations.

In light of these historical backgrounds on what has transpired, Donald Trump has once again opened himself to controversy with these remarks. At a time when both the Philippines and the United States having populist leaders known for controversial statements, this may risk a diplomatic incident, or a war on words.

Sidenotes: With the terror attacks in Spain and the events in Charlottesville, may we stand united together against hate.

A New Aksyon

Yesterday, TV5’s flagship newscast Aksyon unveiled an updated graphics package and a new theme music, which is an updated version of the one used since its inception in 2010. 

What is noticeable is that PCOO Secretary Martin Andanar is still being used as voiceover when he is in fact already a public official.

Moving along, this change should be a first step in repositioning itself as a worthy alternative to the established newscasts of GMA and ABS-CBN as it first appeared to be seven years ago, until it began losing momentum due to numerous missteps (which is a very long list, an over-exposed news chief is among those). That void is now being filled by CNN Philippines. Add to that is Radyo5 92.3 News FM’s programming issues. 

Despite the MVP Group’s resources, News5 has a long way to go, even if it manages to utilize social media through News5 Everywhere. We can only hope this small change help News5 in regaining the public’s trust. 

PTV 4 begins its new morning lineup

Beginning this week, PTV 4 will have a new morning program lineup.

  • 6:00 am Ulat Bayan Sunday edition replay (Monday)/PTV News Headlines replay (Tuesday-Friday)
  • 7:00 am Bagong Pilipinas
  • 8:00 am Bitag Live
  • 9:00 am Daily Info
  • 9:30 am DOSTv
  • 10:00 am TV Shop

It is noticable that Bagong Pilipinas, the successor to both Good Morning Boss of the PNoy administration and Good Morning Pilipinas of the early months of the Duterte administration. It has also extended its airtime to one hour, reminiscent of its predecessors.

Bitag Live, hosted by Ben Tulfo, is due to start tomorrow, an a replay of ASEAN Spotlight took over its timeslot today. This will be Ben Tulfo’s second blocktime program on PTV after Kilos Pronto which airs at 5pm. Bitag Live first aired on UNTV 37 and moved to Radyo5 92.3 News FM and remained until the public spat between him, his brother Erwin and former colleague Ed Lingao. It may cause concern to some that PTV’s impartiality may be compromised as it is becoming home to most of the Duterte administration’s staunchest defenders.

Daily Info has also moved to a timeslot reminiscent to that of Teledyaryo sa Umaga and GMA News TV’s News To Go’s former timeslot, and would be a perfect fit for the timeslot as it presents itself as a fast-paced newscast. It will be followed by DOSTv.

Lastly, it is noticeable that TV Shop has reduced its running time. This should be a start as PTV needs to beef up its programming to fulfill its mandate in bridging the government to the people through quality content.