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Argentina Favoring Brazilian Version of ISDB-T for Terrestrial DTV

Three years ago this month Argentina decided to reverse its decision to adopt ATSC as the country's terrestrial DTV standard and consider other options. In early 2006, Argentinian broadcaster Telefe conducted tests of DVB-T, and later that year Antina Argentina launched pay-TV services using DVB-T. When ATSC was dropped, news reports indicated Argentina was likely to adopt the standard Brazil picked for its terrestrial DTV choice.

This week, several news articles pointed to a recent visit to Brazil by Argentina's President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner and an agreement to hold regular meetings on the DTV transmission standard as confirmation Argentina would adopt the version of the Japanese DTV ISDB-T standard being rolled out in Brazil. In Argentina, Minister of Planning Julio De Vido met with the deputy minister for communications of Japan and representatives of Japanese company NEC. This is another indication Argentina may be the second country in South America to adopt ISDB-T.

While ISDB-T uses COFDM, the same as DVB-T, a longer interleaver gives it greater immunity to impulse noise. ISDB-T includes provisions for mobile and handheld services as well. Brazil made modifications to the system to match its channel bandwidth and use H.264 for improved video compression. I've seen complaints that set-top boxes for the Brazilian standard are too expensive, as manufacturers don't enjoy the same economy of scale on these boxes as ones for the DVB-T or ATSC standard. Argentina's adoption of ISDB-T may help that situation.

Doug Lung is one of America's foremost authorities on broadcast RF technology. He has been with NBC since 1985 and is currently vice president of broadcast technology for NBC/Telemundo stations.