Altech warns court action over ISDB-T adoption

Set-top box manufacturer Altech has warned the South African Government they will be taking legal action if the ISDB-T standard-based technology currently used in Japan and Brazil is adopted for devices in South Africa, according to a statement released by the company.

In 2006 the South African Government announced it would be adopting the DVB-T standard. However, the Government announced this May that it was considering a switch to the ISDB-T standard.

In their statement Altech said their subsidiary company Altech UEC had 'invested millions' in developing set-top box technology based on the DVB-T standard.

Commenting on the possible move to ISDB-T Altech CEO Craig Venter said: The company is able to rapidly understand and adopt any technology in the broadcast STB space. As such Altech UEC is technology neutral.

"However, it needs to be stated that should government decide to go with the ISDB-T technology, Altech and other industry players will not hesitate to launch legal proceedings against government, not only to reverse the decision, but also to claim millions of rands spent on costs and wasted resources."

Altech stated that ISDB-T is deployed in Japan, Brazil and other South American countries, while DVB-T is used in 120 countries. "Most broadcasters, manufacturers and retailers of television equipment support DVB-T because it will stimulate the local market. On the other hand, adoption of the ISDB-T platform will reduce competition, increase telecoms costs and thereby reduce benefits to consumers.

"In fact, if a different standard is adopted, we will have to import skills and technology and turn our backs on what exists locally. This will stifle growth of the ICT sector," added Venter.

Altech also stated a move to ISDB-T would affect have implications for all Southern African Development Community countries because they will have to follow suit to ensure harmonisation in radio frequency spectrum in order to prevent cross-border spectrum interference.

DTG Staff  |  21.09.2010

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