Pampanga, Philippines (August 13, 2016) – UNTV News and Rescue is set to roll out its digital terrestrial television (DTT) service, UNTV-BMPI Chairman and CEO Bro. Daniel S. Razon, also known as “Kuya Daniel,” announced on Saturday.

Kuya Daniel disclosed few details of UNTV’s expansion plans during the Thanksgiving to God celebration of Members Church of God International (MCGI) at the ADD Convention Center in Apalit, Pampanga. He is the Assistant to the Overall Servant to MCGI. Breakthrough and Milestones Productions International (BMPI) operates UNTV where MCGI is a major blocktimer since 2004.

He said that existing owners of digital television (DTV) set top boxes, even those being sold by other broadcast networks, can receive the digital free-to-air broadcast transmission of UNTV in Mega Manila.

Currently, UNTV airs via UHF channel 37 in analog with simulcast digital broadcast via UHF channel 38. It is initially available in Metro Manila and nearby provinces like Bulacan, Pampanga, Cavite and Rizal. UNTV has multi-channel set-up. It has two (2) standard definition (SD) channels and one (1) “1seg” or “oneseg” channel. 1seg is the common name of DTV service specifically for mobile phone devices. The line-up also includes one (1) high definition (HD) channel called “ADDTV” or Ang Dating Daan TV. ADDTV is a new 24/7 channel showing purely religious programs of Ang Dating Daan (The Old Path). ADD is hosted by Bro. Eliseo F. Soriano, Overall Servant to MCGI.

Bro. Daniel also said that UNTV will be putting up DTV relay stations within the year. He said that those areas where households already own DTV receiver boxes will be prioritized and announcements will be made once these stations are already on-air.

Bro. Daniel also said that UNTV is planning to launch its own version of digital terrestrial TV receiver box in the future.

A list of some on-air DTV channels in Metro Manila. Screen capture from ABS-CBN TVPlus digital box.
ADDTV is now on test broadcast. It airs MCGI religious programs with crisp and clear video.

Based on recent reports, more than 1.3 million digital TV boxes, branded as TVPlus or “mahiwagang black box,” were already sold by ABS-CBN as of June 2016. This figure does not include digital boxes distributed by other brands like RCA, Fukuda, Xenon, Cybertec and VCAN, users having LED TV sets with built-in DTV tuners and mobile device users with DTV-ready handsets or tablets. ABS-CBN is the pioneer in DTV transition and leading with on-air DTV stations in at least 15 areas including Pangasinan, Tarlac, Metro Cebu and Davao.

On May 18, 2016, President Benigno S. Aquino signed Republic Act No. 10820 which renewed the license of UNTV’s parent, the Progressive Broadcasting Corporation, for another 25 years. The law grants PBC a franchise to construct, install, operate, and maintain, for commercial purposes, television stations, including digital television system, with the corresponding facilities such as relay stations, throughout the Philippines.

DTV uses digital TV signals to deliver clean and crisp images and high quality audio that is more or less comparable to that of cable and satellite TV. With DTV, there is no static or ghost feedback which is a major problem in analog broadcasting.

Weak analog TV signal results in snowy pictures and is also prone to interference.

UNTV digital transition since 2013

In 2013, during UNTV’s 9th anniversary celebration (see file video below), Bro. Daniel Razon already announced the network’s ongoing transition from analog to digital broadcast. The activity includes upgrading of technical equipment and studio facilities.

DTV Pilipinas, a non-profit Filipino organization that monitors updates in the DTT transition in the Philippines detected UNTV’s test broadcast in Metro Manila in August 2014.

To be able to receive UNTV’s DTV broadcast in Mega Manila, users must configure their existing boxes or devices by automatic re-scanning. Having an outdoor antenna is also advisable to improve signal strength and quality. It can also be scanned by manually inputting UNTV’s frequency of 617143 MHz in any ISDB-T receiver box, TV set or device. The assigned frequency for each TV network may vary per province.

UNTV DTV test broadcast currently on 617.143 (UHF channel 38) in Mega Manila. Screen capture from ABS-CBN digital box.

Integrated Services Digital Broadcast-Terrestrial (ISDB-T)

In November 2013, the NTC issued the Memorandum Circular 05-11-2013 for “Standard for Digital Terrestrial Television (DTT) Broadcast Service” as President Benigno S. Aquino III announced the shift to digital TV using the Japanese ISDB-T standard. Below is a file video of UNTV on the formal adoption of ISDB-T.

ISDB-T standard shall be the sole standard in the delivery of DTT services in the country. DTT is the implementation of the digital technology in the television service, to provide greater number of channels and/or better quality of picture and sound through a conventional aerial antenna instead of pay television services like satellite or cable connection. ISDB-T is the same standard adopted by Brazil, Argentina and Peru.

The Japanese standard was picked over the European standard (DVB-T) mainly because of its Emergency Warning Broadcast System (EWBS). The EWBS allows the government to send an alert to each device during a disaster. The EWBS is also available for mobile phones as long as there is broadcast signal and people can receive emergency information outdoors.

On December 17, 2014, the NTC has issued the rules and regulations for DTT broadcast (DTTB) service to ensure the smooth transition from analog to digital television via Memorandum Circular 07-12-2014.

Rules and Regulations for DTTB service (Page 1). Published by the NTC, scanned from The Philippine Star.
Rules and Regulations for DTTB service (Page 2). Published by the NTC, scanned from The Philippine Star.
Rules and Regulations for DTTB service (Page 3). Published by the NTC, scanned from The Philippine Star.

According to the published rules, existing VHF operators shall simulcast their their DTTB service together with their analog TV service within one (1) year upon the grant of authority to provide DTTB service. Meanwhile, existing UHF operator including UNTV may go directly to DTTB anytime using their existing frequencies or may simulcast, depending on the availability of frequencies, within one year upon the grant of authority to provide DTTB service. According to NTC, the country could migrate to digital TV as early as 2020.

UNTV Radio La Verdad

UNTV Radio La Verdad 1350 kHz is a 24/7 public service AM station.

Kuya Daniel also announced the ongoing transformation in UNTV Radio La Verdad’s transmitter and radio antenna facility that aims to expand its coverage. The radio power upgrade will increase the station’s transmitting power, currently at 10,000-watt output to 50,000 watts. This will make UNTV Radio at par with high-powered AM stations in Mega Manila in terms of signal strength. Improvement in UNTV Radio’s signal reception is expected to be felt by first quarter of 2017. In addition, UNTV Radio will be expanding its reach to include other provinces by building new relay stations, in either AM or FM band where frequency is still available. [techthetruth]

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