NBC’s Agreement with Inview on Digital Broadcasting

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Emeka Mba

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The National Broadcasting Commission has signed agreement with Inview Technologies Limited to provide a National Common Set-Top-Box system for digital broadcasting

By Anayo Ezugwu  |  Apr. 6, 2015 @ 01:00 GMT  |

IN its effort to move the electronic media industry from analogue to digital broadcasting by June 2015, the National Broadcasting Commission, NBC, has signed an agreement with the Inview Technologies Limited to provide a National Common Set-Top-Box system. A statement issued by Maimuna Jimada, assistant director, public affairs, NBC, said the agreement would see Inview Technologies Limited, collaborating with MTS Communications Limited, to make available the software to provide key services.

According to the NBC spokesperson, the key services include collection of annual digital content fee, conditional access system, electronic programme guide, push video on direct-to-home television, and interactive advertising. “The agreement will essentially help the commission give birth to the National Set-Top-Box Platform that will enable commonality for all digital television services in the country. Thirteen companies bid for the digital TV system comprising Set-Top-Box software and integrated digital TV broadcast services to deliver a National Common STB/IDTV Control and Consumer Access Fee Mechanism; and critical additional services over the digital terrestrial and satellite networks in Nigeria. Inview Technologies got the job through a detailed, meticulous and transparent selection process,” she said.

Jimada pledged that the regulatory agency would meet its obligations to the company, adding that utmost adherence to the terms and conditions of the agreement were required from the firm. She reiterated the commitment of the NBC to midwifing a smooth switchover to digital terrestrial television broadcasting in Nigeria.

Inview Technologies is a UK-based software company that specialised in advanced EPGs for digital TV; interactive broadcast, and IP services and solutions for Pay-TV and analogue switch off market. Their TV platform allows television broadcast and internet content to be simultaneously accessible to the viewers.

In his remarks, Emeka Mba, director general of the commission, assured that Nigeria would not miss the deadline date. He emphasised that the country was already going digital and that the transition was on-going at the moment. “We have currently a digital television penetration of around 22 percent of the total Nigerian TV household.  The major outstanding task is ensuring that the remaining 78 percent of our TV household population of about 20 million homes will have set top boxes for Free to Air television reception before June 17th, analogue switch off deadline. We continue to work with the Broadcasting Organisation of Nigeria, BON, and other interested stakeholders to ensure that our preparations in terms of content offering, and the digital broadcast infrastructure is in place.  As we get closer to the June deadline the commission shall evaluate the current situation and advice government accordingly,” he said.

According to Mba, the commission is still engaged in high-level discussions with several local and international institutions as regards funding of the digital switch over, especially with regards to the Set top box rebate and distribution, as well as the roll out of infrastructure among others. “Progress is being made, as soon the agreements are concluded the commission shall make this public.”

He explained that the entire process is in itself inevitable given developments in digital technology, which makes compression of signals widespread. He added that the idea of a deadline for the analogue switch off is a decision of the ITU, which Nigeria is a signatory to. According to him, digital television broadcasting brings tremendous benefits not only to broadcasting but also to the larger economy as it also helps bridge the digital divide improving access to information and social inclusion. As such, the need for the transition is to improve overall audio and visual quality and is also a means of allowing for more channels and viewing options.

The International Telecommunications Union requires all nations to move from analogue to digital broadcasting by June 17. One of the benefits of the transition is the conservation of spectrum as well as sharper broadcast images. Successful switchover will ensure broadcast stations transmit on the Ultra High Frequency, UHF, radio platform in the range of 300 to 3,000 MHz.

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