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Thread: Status of the Digital TV transition in Central America

  1. #1
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    Default Status of the Digital TV transition in Central America

    I thought I would post an *update* of the transition to digital TV in the Central American countries. This is kind of a addendum to Raymie's OPMA Mexico TV/FM news forum. In my research for FM News for the WTFDA FM database, I continue to come across news stories about the digital television transition in Central America. It appears the digital television transition is happening at a faster pace in African countries than it is in the Central American countries.


    • El Salvador has been in something of a turmoil with deciding on a standard for their digital TV. In March 2009 the ATSC committee announced that El Salvador had chosen the ATSC standard, but have since withdrawn that decision. The El Salvador government is concerned with what their neighboring countries have decided. They were wanting to get started by 2018, but they have had a few roadblocks along the way. El Salvador is currently testing ATSC, ISDB-T and DVB. The latest news on the process was posted January 12, 2017-

    http://www.centralamericadata.com/es...n_a_TV_digital

    • Meanwhile, in Costa Rica, analog TV will cease on December 15 of this year. Yes, less than a year left of analog TV in Costa Rica!! Costa Rica has selected ISDB-T for their standard. The state channel, "Canal 13", was the first one to make the transmission using the digital TV technology, in March 2012. You can read the latest here...

    http://www.ticotimes.net/2015/12/03/...ion-digital-tv
    http://www.centralamericadata.com/es...n_a_TV_digital

    • Panamá has chosen the DVB-T standard. Panamá chose the DVB-T standard in August 2010 and began the digital television transition in September 2011 in phases. The anticipated transition completion is for the end of 2017. The implementation of digital TV in the country was divided into four phases, each of them during 18 months. The 1st phase started in Sept 2011 and ended in March 2013 providing the provinces of Panamá and Colón with digital TV transmission. The analog signal will remain on until the 4th phase is complete and then all analog signals will be turned off. The 2nd phase will include the provinces of Coclé, Herrera, Los Santos and Veraguas. The 3rd will include the provinces of Chiriquí and Bocas de Toro. The 4th will take digital TV to the province of Darién. ASEP, the Panamá license authority has put up a website to help the consumer understand the transition...

    http://www.asep-rtvdigitalpanama.gob.pa/

    • Nicaragua indicated on August 20, 2010 they would probably go with the ISDB-T standard. On August 4, 2015, they made it official when the president of Telcor signed an official statement that the ISDB-T standard had been selected. Their transition schedule has not been made public yet.
    • Guatemala announced the ISDB-T standard on May 31, 2013. Their timetable for the transition is yet to be announced.
    • Honduras, in 2007, announced they would use the ATSC standard, but later changed their mind. They announced in September 2013 they would use the ISDB-T standard. Their timetable is yet to be determined.
    • In Belize, the ITU has confirmed the Belize government has not even began researching digital television to establish a standard.
    Jim Thomas
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    El Salvador just chose ISDB-T a week or two ago. Humberto has a post on it, I think in the Chat Room. Good call on their part in terms of standard choice.
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    And I'm sure all of these countries will be abandoning the VHF-lo band just like Mexico. I'd gladly monitor for DVB and ISDB if I thought I'd get anything for it. Name:  BrickWall.gif
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    Ryan, you're well-positioned for DTMB from Cuba

    (and seriously, with the recent Gulf tropo opening, are you sure ISDB-T reception from Central America *isn't* possible?)
    Doug Smith W9WI
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    Quote Originally Posted by Raymie View Post
    El Salvador just chose ISDB-T a week or two ago. Humberto has a post on it, I think in the Chat Room. Good call on their part in terms of standard choice.
    Thanks Raymie. I knew I saw that information somewhere, but couldn't remember where.
    Jim Thomas
    Springfield, MO

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    Agreed.

    ISDB-T is the Japanese standard, also used in the Philippines, Sri Lanka, and Botswana.

    Japan and Brazil cooperated on a modified version called ISDB-TB. The primary difference is ISDB-TB uses H.264 compression, allowing more subchannels and/or higher quality in the same number of subchannels.

    (I should note, many countries are far more restrictive than the U.S. in allowing use of subchannels. U.S. stations don't require government permission to launch subs. Mexican stations do, although it seems to be fairly freely given. Canadian stations require a separate license to launch a subchannel and to my knowledge only one such license has been issued. A station was running an audio-only program to feed programming to the transmitter of a co-owned radio station, and decided they'd better apply for a license when they learned, much to their surprise, that members of the general public were listening to the station on their TVs.

    I believe in Brazil, only non-commercial stations are allowed to run more than one program.)

    ISDB-TB is used in nearly every country in South America. The exceptions would be Colombia and French Guiana (European DVB-T); Guyana (ATSC); and Surinam. (no DTV decision yet)
    Doug Smith W9WI
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    I have read rumors on the electronic gadget forums that many of the digital TV manufacturers are seriously contemplating removing tuners in future sets. The general consensus seems to be the manufacturers would like to make video displays (lcd, plasma, etc) a universal product and not have to worry about making them FIT certain countries. The consumer would then have to decide if they want to add an OTA reception device for the country they live in. I'm really curious if that idea will get any traction in the TV manufacturing world? I guess time will tell.
    Jim Thomas
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    Quote Originally Posted by w9wi View Post
    Ryan, you're well-positioned for DTMB from Cuba

    (and seriously, with the recent Gulf tropo opening, are you sure ISDB-T reception from Central America *isn't* possible?)
    If you're selling a DTMB box, I'm buying. I'd expect tuners for the other systems to be more widely available.

    Unfortunately I'm not aware of any TV catches, by tropo, from Florida to Central America.
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    I hope that tuner is compliant with 6 MHz bandwidth DTMB. All tuners and dongles sold in AliExpress are 8 MHz-DTMB only.

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    I know they're making TVs in Cuba, but even if I could order one wouldn't I run afoul of the embargo? (Besides, I'd much rather buy a converter box than ship even a small TV.)

    Perhaps there will be an SDR plugin I can use to decode DTMB? I'd certainly be able to set the bandwith to whatever I need, even well below 6 MHz due to the way OFDM works.
    :: Ryan Grabow
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