El Salvador Adopts ATSC for DTT

Friday, May 8th, 2009

WASHINGTON — The ATSC Forum today applauded the decision of El Salvador to adopt the ATSC Digital Television Standard for digital terrestrial television broadcasting. The decision, adopted by the General Superintendency of Electricity and Telecommunications (SIGET), benefits citizens and broadcasters alike in El Salvador.

“By adopting ATSC,” said Robert Graves, Chairman of the ATSC Forum, “the government of El Salvador has taken one of the most important steps in ensuring the success of digital television broadcasting in that country. By aligning itself with the huge markets in North America and South Korea, El Salvador has assured its citizens of the widest variety of consumer products at the lowest possible prices. At the same time, broadcasters in El Salvador will achieve the greatest possible reception coverage, while delivering the highest digital payload, which translates into greater quantity and quality of services delivered to viewers, all with the lowest prices for acquiring and operating broadcast equipment.”

The ATSC family of standards will give broadcasters in El Salvador the flexibility to deliver standard-definition digital multicasting, data services, HDTV, and robust transmission to mobile and handheld devices. The decision in El Salvador, adopted April 22, was based on a technical report issued by the Telecommunications Bureau of SIGET on April 4, which in turn relied on recommendations issued in March 2008 by the Central American Regional Technical Commission of Telecom-munications (COMTELCA) in a report “Basic Recommendations for the Implementation of Digital Television Broadcasting in Central America.” Honduras adopted the ATSC Standard in January 2007, and ATSC digital television broadcasts, including high-definition television, are on the air in two cities in that country. ATSC HDTV broadcasts also began in 2006 in both Guatemala and Costa Rica, and efforts continue to bring ATSC digital television broadcasting to the remaining countries in the region.

Adoption of the ATSC DTV Standard in El Salvador is timely because other Latin American countries, including Argentina, Chile, Ecuador and the Dominican Republic, are preparing to choose their digital television broadcast standards. The ATSC Standard is fully deployed in the United States and South Korea, and is broadly deployed in Canada and Mexico. More than 140 million ATSC receivers have been sold around the world since late 1998, and more than 30 million additional receivers per year are expected to be sold for the foreseeable future. El Salvador joins the more than 500 million people around the world for whom ATSC digital television services are available.

In explaining its decision, SIGET noted the close commercial relationships with other countries that have adopted ATSC, including the fact that Canada and the U.S. export much of the technological equipment implemented in El Salvador, and cited the following ATSC characteristics:

  • The capacity to achieve digital transmissions, including HDTV, in 6 MHz channels, such as are used in El Salvador;
  • The efficiency of transmission, which permits maximum signal coverage with the lowest possible power, allowing broadcasters to duplicate their analog television coverage at the lowest cost;
  • The ability to take advantage of economies of scale in the global production of receiving devices, leading to reduced costs that benefit society;
  • Availability of receivers under favorable conditions of quality, diversity and price;
  • Flexibility for developing new services and implementing new ATSC standards for mobile and portable applications.

“We’re delighted to welcome El Salvador into the family of countries that have adopted the ATSC Standard,” said Graves. “We look forward to working with broadcasters and government policy makers to promote the rapid and successful implementation of digital television broadcasting using the ATSC family of standards.”