Singapore picks European standard for digital TV

Agence France-Presse
(Copyright 1999)

SINGAPORE, May 24 (AFP) - Singapore has selected the European system as its standard for digital television, which should be launched as early as next year, Information Minister George Yeo announced Monday.

Singapore is said to be the first country in Southeast Asia to have tested and selected a digital television standard.

Yeo said the Singapore Broadcasting Authority opted for the European system over the American and Japanese standards after studying carefully the existing three standards of digital TV.

Known as the Digital Video Broadcasting System or DVB, the European system was chosen as "it is best suited for a densely populated built-up environment like ours," Yeo said when launching a new Internet website on Singapore's history and heritage.

He said DVB also provided good mobile TV reception, which in future would enable Singaporeans to watch TV while commuting to and from work.

Yeo added that DVB technology was also "more flexible" than the so-called American Advanced Television Systems Committee (ATSC) and the Japanese Integrated Services Digital Broadcasting-Terrestrial (ISDB-T) standards.

DVB is widely used by developed nations, including European countries, Australia and New Zealand.

"The choice of DVB was recommended by a committee comprising representatives from government agencies, the broadcast industry, research institutions and commercial suppliers. Their decision was unanimous," he said.

The minister said Singapore should be able to launch a DVB system quickly and that DTV services should commence as early as 2000.

Singapore, with about three million people, introduced digital audio broadcasting or digital radio last year and Yeo said Monday it was currently being tested by the trade and should be commercially launched later this year.

"Digital technology will enable us to link every home in the not-too-distant future with high definition interactive TV," he said.

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