Brazil Defends Custom ISDB-T Terrestrial DTV Standard

When Brazil adopted a DTV standard based on a modified version of Japan’s ISDB-T terrestrial DTV standard that uses MPEG-4 encoding and different channel bandwidths, to fit the Brazilian market, it seemed like an ideal technology choice. They got the benefits of the proven COFDM modulation method used in DVB-T and ISDB-T, the longer interleaver and improved impulse noise from ISDB-T, one-segment mobile services and the latest, most efficient, video encoding technology. Furthermore, equipment for the Brazilian standard would be made in Brazil, benefiting the local economy. It seemed like the perfect choice.

However, according to a recent article in The Inquirer, Brazil Defends Its Digital TV Choice, Roll-out “Brazilian ambassadors are coming out to defend” criticism against the standard, as other countries in the region decide on their own terrestrial DTV standards.

Brazil hasn’t been successful in getting other countries in the region to support the standard. In Brazil, there are complaints about the high cost of the set-top boxes and concern the DTV signal will leave “black holes” in some populated areas. The Inquirer quotes the Brazilian ambassador responded to the high cost criticism by saying that “the Japanese have offered the Chilean government to have ISDB-T set top boxes at a maximum price of 40 US greenbacks by 2009.”

The article details the reported shortcomings of the standard and results of polls that show the majority of the population supports the Brazilian ISDB-T standard. In Chile, ISDB-T got 52 percent of the preference vote compared to DVB-T and ATSC, which tied at 23 percent each. As The Inquirer notes, this is far from a popular vote; in the end it will be a political decision by the Chilean government.

Doug Lung

Doug Lung is one of America's foremost authorities on broadcast RF technology. As vice president of Broadcast Technology for NBCUniversal Local, H. Douglas Lung leads NBC and Telemundo-owned stations’ RF and transmission affairs, including microwave, radars, satellite uplinks, and FCC technical filings. Beginning his career in 1976 at KSCI in Los Angeles, Lung has nearly 50 years of experience in broadcast television engineering. Beginning in 1985, he led the engineering department for what was to become the Telemundo network and station group, assisting in the design, construction and installation of the company’s broadcast and cable facilities. Other projects include work on the launch of Hawaii’s first UHF TV station, the rollout and testing of the ATSC mobile-handheld standard, and software development related to the incentive auction TV spectrum repack.
A longtime columnist for TV Technology, Doug is also a regular contributor to IEEE Broadcast Technology. He is the recipient of the 2023 NAB Television Engineering Award. He also received a Tech Leadership Award from TV Tech publisher Future plc in 2021 and is a member of the IEEE Broadcast Technology Society and the Society of Broadcast Engineers.