The 15th annual conference of the Society of TV Engineers (SET 2003) began Wednesday, September 3, in Rio de Janeiro, with an agenda that highlights digital television and media convergence. SET Chairman Roberto Franco, director of technology at SBT, a major broadcast network, opened the proceedings alongside Luiz Guilherme Schymura, director-general of Anatel, and Marcio Wohlers, special advisor to the Communications Ministry.
The transition to a digital system must comply with certain technical social and economic criteria, Luiz Guilherme Schymura said, adding that with all the trials already held to date the Government now has sufficient data to choose the most suitable DTV standard.
According to Marcio Wohlers, the Government?s attention is currently focused on promoting digitization and media convergence. The Communications Ministry is working hard to create opportunities for business and research organizations to develop a new standard. The regulatory framework must not inhibit the industry?s development, he said.
Roberto Franco said SET and Brazil?s TV engineers ?will never adopt standards that introduce third-world quality of service?.
For Fernando Bittencourt, representing broadcasters in the SET/Abert group, if Brazil opted to develop its own video compression and/or signal modulation systems, it would lack both scale and capacity to manufacture integrated circuits and would be forced to import chips made elsewhere. It would be more sensible to use an existing standard so as to leverage global economies of scale. ?No one has spent less than 500 million dollars and five years developing a standard,? he said.
As for local development of middleware to operate receiver systems, this could feasibly be conducted in parallel with the introduction of an existing standard. ?None of the standards in use around the world has fully developed middleware at this time,? he said. A DTV standard needs to be adopted soon so as to ensure that the next World Cup soccer championship finals can be transmitted digitally: that means taking a final decision by April 2004. ?Broadcasters can?t just be supporting actors in this game. They must participate fully in the choice,? he stressed.
Roberto Franco said engineers have long been developing and proposing solutions for TV but until now their efforts haven?t been duly recognized. Communications Minister Miro Teixeira?s decision to develop a national system potentially represents that recognition. ?But the proposal raises questions about the advantages of developing a new standard,? he said.
Marcio Wohlers advocated the creation of a Brazilian DTV standard to be known by the acronym SBTVD, as a means of reducing technological dependency and ?reinserting Brazilian science and technology into international consortia?. He also said the standard must be in place in time for the next World Cup, as publicly advocated by Mr Teixeira.