TV channels to convert from analog to digital

By Franklin R. Satyapalan

Television viewers could expect high quality visuals in programmes with the government deciding to make an official announcement next week calling for all private television channels to convert gradually from present Analog system to Digital,Information Ministry Sources said on Wednesday.

When contacted the Secretary to the Ministry of Information W. D. Ganegala said that the government had taken this policy decision to keep up with changes taking place globally. The television channel operators use the latest technology.

Ganegala said "At present all the 55 frequencies had been issued to operators. After their conversion to digital system there would be sufficient frequencies left and with the change viewers would also have better quality pictures"

"Initially in 2012 the conversion would be phased out in the Western and the Northern Provinces and there on will be extended to the other seven Provinces".

He said that television set and ancillary equipment importers would be discouraged not to invest in Analog technology with the gradual conversion to the digital system.

He said that this would be a five year programme and the government would shut off the Analog system by 2017.

The Director (Economic Affairs)Telecommunication Regulatory Commission of Sri Lanka (TRCSL) Nelum Jayaweera said that this conversion would be a boon for Sri Lankans. Earlier a TV or Radio channel was allocated only one frequency each. With the change from the analog to the digital a dozen channels would be able to operate out of one frequency and there would be plenty of new frequencies that could be acquired by operators.

The Ministry of Information was the sole authority for the issuing of TV or Radio frequencies. At present there were 13 private TV channels,26 Radio Channels, three Satellite TV Channels Satcom, Satnet and Dialog and two cable TV operators City Cable Links Ltd and Lanka Broadband Network .

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