Sri Lanka - Dialog TV Commences Pilot DVB-T/H Broadcast

Wednesday, January 23rd, 2008
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Colombo, Sri Lanka — Sri Lanka’s first Terrestrial Digital Television Broadcast went on air, on the 23rd January with the commencement of Dialog Television’s Pilot Launch of DVB-T based Terrestrial Digital Television covering the City of Colombo.

Officiating at the announcement of the pilot broadcast heralding the evolution of Sri Lankan television to digital platforms, was the Minister of Mass Media and Information Hon. Anura Priyadarshana Yapa. “The Government of Sri Lanka actively encourages the introduction of modern and efficient technologies, I am singularly happy that the broadcast industry has taken this bold step towards digitalizing television broadcasting in Sri Lanka. Digital platforms will deliver multiple benefits – efficient use of scarce frequency resources, more channels with wider coverage and a range of other benefits to the viewing public”, said the Hon. Minister soon after ceremonially launching the pilot broadcast.

Also present at the launch of the pilot broadcast were Mr. Priyantha Kariyapperuma, Director General of the Telecommunications Regulatory Commission of Sri Lanka and Mr. A. Dissanayake, Secretary of the Ministry of Media and Information.

The DVB-T (Digital Video Broadcast – Terrestrial) broadcast standard enables digital broadcast over standard VHF/UHF television spectrum (airwaves), enabling viewers to access the digital broadcast using standard (analogue) televisions and VHF/UHF antennae with the addition of a DVB-T access device (adaptor or set top box). The broadcast will also be available on vehicle mounted devices, and via DVB-H technology (a variant of the DVB-T standard for Handhelds) on advanced GSM/3G handsets. DVB-T/H standards are currently seeing rapid adoption across the world with strong adoption trends in Western Europe.

The Pilot Broadcast carried out by Dialog Television carries 9 television channels on a single UHF frequency demonstrating at the outset a 9 fold enhancement in frequency utilisation. State channels Rupavahini, Eye/Nethra and Independent Television Network (ITN) join private broadcasters Derana, Swaranavahini and The Buddhist on the country’s first terrestrial digital broadcast. The broadcast also carries 3 foreign channels to complete the channel line up. The pilot broadcast will be initially ‘tested’ using selected viewers forming a representative set across the broadcast coverage area.

Dialog Television, currently Sri Lanka’s leading Digital Satellite Television operator set out its commitment to be a premier digital broadcast network provider with the expansion of its satellite based (DVB-S) infrastructure to now incorporate DVB-T and DVB-H broadcast capabilities. “We are a service provider to the media and broadcast industry” said Nushad Perera, Chief Executive Officer of Dialog Television. “We are committed to establish and operate world class digital broadcast infrastructure and also to provide excellent customer service to Sri Lankan consumers. Our platforms will carry high quality content of local and international broadcasters to Sri Lankan homes and also vehicles and handsets via our portfolio of satellite and terrestrial broadcast technologies”, he added.

Some of the benefits that DVB-T offers to the consumer are DVD quality video, electronic programme guides and selection, multi-lingual audio capability, multi-lingual sub-titling capability and enhanced audio technology such as Dolby Digital, 5.1. The efficiencies delivered by digital broadcast technology are also set to facilitate the expansion of television (channel) availability to all regions of Sri Lanka, where economic viability constrained the expansion of incumbent analogue infrastructure.

Dialog Telekom PLC Group Chief Executive Dr. Hans Wijayasuriya expressed the company’s appreciation of the support and encouragement it had received from state and industry stake holders in delivering the country’s first terrestrial digital television broadcast. “We are deeply indebted to the Ministry of Media and Information and the Telecommunications Regulatory Commission of Sri Lanka for setting the pace for the digitalization of television in Sri Lanka and for supporting us in this pioneering endeavor. We are also very appreciative of the cooperation extended to us by SLRC, ITN, Derana and Swarnavahini in partnering us in this pilot broadcast. I am confident that the broadcast industry will capitalize on technology advancement in order to deliver a superior and more widely available television experience to Sri Lankan consumers”, he concluded.