Japan pitches digital technology to S. America


TOKYO -- Japan is taking its campaign to win over the next generation of digital television viewers to South America, with a delegation from the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications holding talks in Chile and Argentina this week.

Headed by Communications Minister Yoshihide Suga, the team is campaigning for more countries to adopt its Integrated Services Digital Broadcasting, Terrestrial system rather than similar technology being promoted by the U.S. and Europe.

"The Japanese system is the newest and most advanced of the digital terrestrial television projects and has technological advantages over the others," Koji Toda, deputy director of the broadcasting technology division at the ministry, said Tuesday.

"Brazil has already adopted the Japanese system, and we hope that both Chile and Argentina will do the same," Toda said, adding that the Chilean government is expected to make a decision before the end of the year.

Digital terrestrial television is transmitted on radio frequencies, in much the same way as regular analog TV, though the use of multiplex transmitters enables multiple channels to be received on a single frequency range.

Suga is said to have emphasized at a Monday meeting with Rene Cortazar Sanz, the Chilean minister of transportation and communications, that ISDB-T enables portable reception and can be programd so that a TV is automatically switched on in the event of an earthquake -- a hazard to which both Japan and Chile are notoriously prone.

Suga was expected to deliver the same message to Argentinean leader Alberto Fernandez when the two men met in Buenos Aires.

The U.S. began introducing the Advanced Television Systems Committee in 1997, followed one year later in Europe with Digital Video Broadcasting, Terrestrial.

Japan is scheduled to stop analog TV broadcasts on July 24, 2011.