Full transition to digital television in 2013

POSTED: 04/11/12 2:36 PM
Digital television consultant Myra Moore

GREAT BAY – St. Maarten is expected to fully switch to digital television by January 1, 2013 as it moves along a course “that was started when we were still part of the Netherlands Antilles.” The announcement was made by the Chief Operations Officer of the Bureau Telecommunications and Post (St. Maarten Giovanni King during an event for telecommunication companies, cable companies and electronics retailers at Divi Little Bay on Tuesday. Music Man was the only electronics retailer represented at the event.
The bureau has chosen to adopt and enforce the DVB T2 standards for digital cable. Those regulations are already being used in places like Colombia, the French Overseas Territories and Curacao. The move to digital sets the country’s providers on course to start offering new services like Ultra High Definition Television, which requires screens of 100 inches. There is also a new system called over the top which allows people to control the content on their television screen using a tablet p.c. or portable device. Siemens is the only company that currently offers such a service.
Myra Moore, who runs a consultancy focused on the transition to digital television established early on that St. Maarten would be very special if it completely switched to digital television per the date it had set for itself. Countries like the United States and Canada, who have already made the transition, still have areas where an analog is sent and/or received because of specific circumstances.
“There are very few places where analog has been completely shut off. It depends on the circumstances. I am not saying St. Maarten can’t do it, but I have yet to see an analog shutoff that happened when it was announced it would,” Moore said.
The consultant also pointed out that the advent of digital television has started a war between telecom providers and television providers for the best placement in terms of radio frequency spectrums which are used for transmitting signals. Moore believes it is the government and regulator’s responsibility to manage the spectrum so that all parties are treated fairly.
“In fact late comers have a chance to develop a strategy of dealing with the spectrum battle between telecom companies and television broadcasters,” Moore said.
Moore also announced that the Bureau Telecommunications and Post (St. Maarten) has compiled a retailer guide that should be ready for distribution by next week. The booklet focuses on helping people understand the transition to digital television, the types of boxes and antennae that will be needed and with specifications.
One key thing consumers should take note of is that television that process Mpeg 4 format will be able to process Mpeg 2 formats. They should also note that they may necessarily have to change the antennae they use to receive their signal once the full transition is made to digital cable.

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