Washington, D.C., June 17, 1998 --- The government of Taiwan has recently announced a formal decision to adopt the ATSC Digital Television (DTV) Standard for digital terrestrial television broadcasts in Taiwan, thus joining the United States, Canada and South Korea in mandating the ATSC Standard for such broadcasts. Many other countries in South America, Australia, and Asia are also considering possible adoption of the ATSC Standard for digital television broadcasts.
On May 8th, 1998, the Director General of Telecommunications of Taiwan, Republic of China, announced the adoption of the ATSC DTV Standard as the transmission standard for digital television broadcasts in Taiwan. This decision marks the latest major milestone since digital video was chosen as a key strategic industry of the country in the early 1990s. Under coordination of the Digital Video Industry Development Program Office of the Ministry of Economic Affairs (DVO), a digital terrestrial TV broadcast policy—"Multimedia Skyway"—was approved by the government, noting DTV broadcasts as an important part of the nation’s information infrastructure. Targeting termination of current analog TV terrestrial broadcasts by 2006, full-scale DTV broadcasts are planned for the year 2001. The next major milestone is the establishment of a pilot DTV station that will offer widescreen 16:9 Standard-Definition Television (SDTV) programs, High-Definition Television (HDTV) programs, and data broadcast applications. All major Taiwanese TV broadcasters, TTV, CTV, CTS, FTV, PTV, etc., are working toward the common goal of conducting engineering tests at the end of 1998, while new multimedia services are expected to develop gradually with participation from the television and personal computer industries.
"We’re thrilled with this latest decision in Taiwan," said Robert Graves, Chairman of the ATSC. "Taiwan now joins South Korea as the second major country in Asia to choose the ATSC Standard, and we believe these countries are the first of many throughout North and South America, Australia, and Asia that will eventually adopt our standard." Canada and Mexico participated extensively in the U.S. process during the past ten years to help develop what was always intended to be a North American standard. Consequently, Mexico is considered certain to adopt the Standard, followed by all of Central America. Moreover, Brazil and Argentina are carefully evaluating the ATSC Standard, and the chances are excellent that it will be adopted in those countries and throughout all of South America. In Australia, laboratory and field tests have recently been completed as part of an extensive evaluation of the ATSC Standard and a competing European standard, and here again the prospects for adoption of the ATSC Standard are excellent. In addition to the positive decisions in Korea and Taiwan, Singapore and China are also conducting careful evaluations, and once again the prospects for adoption of the ATSC Standard are excellent in these and several other Asian countries.
" The ATSC Digital Television Standard offers broadcasters around the world the flexibility to provide many different combinations of HDTV, multiple programs of SDTV, and a virtually limitless set of potential information services as well. Implementing the ATSC Standard will not only mean a quantum improvement in the technical quality of television service, but will provide a generalized data delivery capability that represents a fundamental improvement in the information infrastructures of the nations that adopt it. Moreover, implementing common or similar digital television standards in many countries will benefit all of those countries by providing wider availability of broadcast and consumer equipment at lower prices. We look forward to working with manufacturers and broadcasters in implementing this standard throughout the world," Graves added.
"Full high-definition capability is an essential requirement for digital television in many countries, including Brazil, Argentina, and Australia, and this gives a huge advantage to the ATSC DTV Standard, because it is the only digital TV standard that is actually being used to provide HDTV," Graves said.
Commenting on this flexibility of the ATSC Standard, Joseph Flaherty, Senior Vice President, Technology, CBS Inc. and Chairman of the ATSC Promotion Subcommittee, stressed the importance of HDTV to broadcasters in the U.S. and many other parts of the world, saying "I believe that HDTV will become the medium of choice by producers, programmers, the distribution media, and the viewing public. For those countries who believe that HDTV capability is an essential part of their mix of digital TV services, the ATSC DTV Standard is the only digital TV standard that offers real economies of scale for HDTV receivers and other HDTV equipment. While the European digital TV standard offers HDTV capability on paper, no one in the world has announced any plans actually to implement HDTV capability using the European standard."
The ATSC, composed of more than 150 member corporations, industry associations, standards bodies, research laboratories, and educational institutions, is an international organization developing voluntary standards for the entire range of advanced television systems, and is also developing digital television implementation strategies and has created a certification program for television sets, computers, and other consumer video devices in cooperation with the Consumer Equipment Manufacturers Association. Broadcasters, broadcast equipment suppliers, consumer electronics manufacturers, cable TV providers, motion picture companies, computer hardware and software companies, telecommunications firms, and other entities interested in advanced television are all represented within the ATSC.
The ATSC Digital Television Standard is based on the Digital Grand Alliance HDTV System developed and tested as part of the ten-year process for developing a North American advanced television standard. Following its adoption by the U.S. Federal Communications Commission in 1996, the ATSC Standard is being implemented in the U.S. according to an aggressive schedule whereby broadcasts will begin in the next few months and more than 50 percent of American viewers will have access to multiple over-the-air digital signals by the end of 1999.
Robert Graves (+1-703-222-0200)
Craig Tanner (+1-202-828-3130)
Steve Chao (+8862-2562-9797)