Brazil has selected a high-definition (HD) digital TV system based on a Japanese standard for its more than 120 million television viewers, instead of the standards used in Europe and the United States, according to reports by the AP and Reuters.
President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva signed a decree authorizing the use of the Japanese ISDB standard in a ceremony attended by Japanese Communications Minister, Heizo Takenaka.
Brazil adopted the Japanese standard after more than a year of studies and debate. The new system is expected be operational within 7 years and the transition to digital TV from the current analog model will occur over 10 years. The system will permit HD images, interactive use with Internet functions, and portable reception, the statement said.
"The big advantage of going digital with the Japanese standard is the portability and mobility it offers the consumer," said Ronaldo Seron, commercial director of Victor Company of Japan Ltd., or JVC, in Brazil. "The ability to receive TV signals on cell phones and small portable sets will open up brand new horizons for manufacturers who will benefit from increased sales and for TV networks who will see their audiences soar."
Seron said that because of Brazil's decision, JVC will start studying the possibility of producing TV sets in Brazil, where it currently makes audio equipment, digital cameras and DVD players, among others consumer goods.
Jose Inacio Pizani, president of the Brazilian Association of Radio and Television Stations, said, "Mobile and portable TV receivers will soon be part of the daily lives of all Brazilians just like cell phones and portable radios." Pizani said he expected other South America countries would follow Brazil's example.
An agreement signed earlier this year between Brazil and Japan called for Japanese firms to train local staff and allow Brazilian companies to use the technology without paying royalties.
With the adoption of the new system Brazil will receive technology transfers, investments in semiconductor manufacturing operations, and financing of up to U.S. $500 million from the Japan Bank for International Cooperation.
Brazilians this year are expected to buy nearly 11 million TV sets, up from 10 million last year, according to electronics manufacturing association Eletros. Brazil is also among the world's largest cellular phone markets, with more than 92 million users.
Japan began digital broadcasting in December 2003 and six out of every 10 households can now receive the service.
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