BROADCASTERS ASSESSMENT OF PROBLEMS AND PROSPECTS IN MIGRATION FROM AN…

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ABSTRACT

This paper would attempt to provide a well-detailed account on the Deregulation of Television Broadcasting and   digitization of the Television signals in Nigeria. Digital television is a new technology for transmitting and receiving broadcast television signals. Using an additional 6 Megahertz (MHz) of broadcast spectrum temporarily granted by Congress and the FCC for a period of no fewer than 9 years, broadcasters will be able to develop a diverse range of new digital television programming and services while continuing to transmit conventional analog television programming on their existing allotments of spectrum, as required by the Telecommunications Act of 1996 (Telecommunications Act of 1996).  The Diffusion and Technological determinism theory which established the media as a technology that can transform any environment, and in a communication sense, media technology can be both a channel and a message at a time since technological innovations can imbibe development through the diffusion of the message it carries. The study recommended that, there should be effective management of the spectrum dividend that will result from the transition in a manner that brings the greatest benefits to the greatest number of people, there should be suitable infrastructural digital broadcasting standards that would ensure compatibility on both national and international levels.

CHAPTER ONE

 INTRODUCTION

1.1 Background of the Study

          Until recently, all broadcasting media have run on an analogue system. Analogue television use complete waves to transmit pictures and sounds. The major drawback of this is that location plays an integral factor, disabling, distorting images and audio on television in rural areas. Digital Televisions are becoming commonplace, with many cable providers encouraging their customers to switch to digital television, so they can take advantage of the providers’ new services. Like the compact disc, digital television information in broken down into binary chunks. Immune to distance and interference, digital TV signals are largely free of visual snow and disruption (Adenyi, 2009).

          Kombol, (2008,p.67) defines digital communication as “an advanced form of information transfer in which messages are converted into a series of 1s and 0s (binary digits) and sent over a channel to the receiver.”
Over the years, television transmission has grown from strength to strength. It moved from monochrome (black and white) to colour transmission.

          Television is a system of sending and receiving pictures and sound by means of electronic signals transmitted through wires and optical fibbers or by electromagnetic radiation. These signals are usually broadcast from a central source, a television station, to reception devices such as television sets in homes or relay stations such as those used by cable television service providers. (Microsoft Encarta, 2009)

          Digital television is a new technology for transmitting and receiving broadcast television signals. Using an additional 6 Megahertz (MHz) of broadcast spectrum temporarily granted by Congress and the FCC for a period of no fewer than 9 years, broadcasters will be able to develop a diverse range of new digital television programming and services while continuing to transmit conventional analog television programming on their existing allotments of spectrum, as required by the Telecommunications Act of 1996 (Telecommunications Act of 1996).

          A digital standard is superior to analog because of its greater accuracy, versatility, efficiency, and interoperability with other electronic media. Digital signals also have the advantage of generating no noise or “ghosting,” and being more resistant to signal interference. Within the range of the signal, this results in a perfect signal. Digital Television (DTV) is an advanced broadcasting technology that has transformed your television viewing experience. DTV has enable broadcasters to offer television with better picture and sound quality. It also offers multiple programming choices, called multicasting and interactive capabilities. (Asemah, 2009).

          Digital television uses technology that records, transmits, and decodes a signal in digital form—that is, as a series of ones and zeros. This process produces much clearer picture and sound quality than analog systems.
It also permits additional features to be embedded in signals including program and consumer information as well as interactivities. Early digital equipment included digital television receivers that converted analog signals into digital code. The analog signal was first sampled and stored as a digital code, then processed, and finally retrieved. ATSC digital tuners designed to decode purely digital signals are now standard on new televisions. Daramola, (2003,p.98) Digital TV reception can be affected by nearby moving vehicles, such as cars, trucks, trains and airplanes. In some instances, shadowing or reflections from these vehicles may cause digital picture to temporarily break-up or even disappear completely. If this occurs, you should try moving or reorienting your antenna to find a position that provides the most reliable reception. If you are using an indoor antenna, switching to an outdoor antenna system which may include a directional antenna or rotor could improve reception. In severe cases it may not be possible to completely eliminate the effect of nearby traffic. If reception remains unsatisfactory due        

          Digital television transition is the technological evolution and advance from analogue terrestrial television, which broadcasts land based (terrestrial) signals. The purpose of digital terrestrial television, similar to digital versus analogue in other platforms such as cable, satellite, telecoms, is characterized by reduced use of spectrum and more capacity than analogue, better-quality picture, and lower operating costs for broadcast and transmission after the initial upgrade costs. A terrestrial implementation of digital television technology uses aerial broadcasts to a conventional antenna (or aerial) instead of a satellite dish or cable connection (Liwhu, 2008).

          Competing variants of digital terrestrial television technology are used around the world. Advanced Television Standards Committee ATSC is the one used in North America and South Korea, an evolution from the analogue National Television Standards Committee standard NTSC. ISDB-T is used in Japan, with a variation of it used in Brazil, Peru, Argentina, Chile, Venezuela, Ecuador and most recently Costa Rica and Paraguay, while DVB-T is the most prevalent, covering Europe, Australia, New Zealand, Colombia, Uruguay and some countries of Africa. DMB-T/H is China’s own standard (including Hong Kong, though Hong Kong’s cable operators use DVB); the rest of the world remains mostly undecided, many evaluating multiple standards. ISDB-T is very similar to DVB-T and can share front-end receiver and demodulator components (Agba, 2001).

          The switch over from analogue to digital in Nigeria is to take place in the year 2012. DTV is transmitted on radio frequencies through the airwaves that are similar to standard analogue television, with the primary difference being the use of multiplex transmitters to allow reception of multiple channels on a single frequency range (such as a UHF or VHF channel) (Agbese, 2006).

          The digital Television transition refers to the shift from analog broadcasting to digital broadcasting. Many countries of the world have recognized the huge benefit which digital broadcasting offers and are making a huge effort to shift from analog broadcasting to digital broadcasting Liwhu, (2008).  The transition from analog to digital broadcasting involves many changing the transmission signals as well as making sure that members of the public buy high definition television sets and get rid of standard definition television sets.

          In the United States of America, February17 2009 was set as a date when broadcasting in analog will be stopped and the whole country will commerce digital broadcasting. To this effect, the US congress passed the Deficit Reduction Act of 2005. Under this Act all local stations in the US are required to from off their analog channels and start broadcasting in digital format.

          The transition to digital broadcasting will mark the end of free television programmes. However, this is not the case. While some television set may be affected by the change, others will not for example, television sets that receive cable and satellite signals will still receive signals from digital transmission. However, television sets that receive analog signals via antenna (these antennas have analog funers) will be out of place in the digital era.

          In this state of affairs, old antennas will need to be upgraded to meet up with the technology. In countries like the United States of America where digital transition is planned top take off, all analog television sets will be no longer useful and will have to be dispose of perhaps shipped to other countries of the world where analog broadcasting is still used. People who wish to continue using analog television set in the U.S will need to have a converter installed (Agbese, 2006). This converter changes digital signals which are broadcast to analog signal so that the television set will be able to pick. Traditionally developing countries in Africa, Latin America and South East Asia are often the dumping ground for out molded technology. The digital transition is just one example of the factors that make developing countries recipients of technology that advanced countries no longer need.

           Digitization programme in Nigeria commenced in Abuja on June 3, 2008, following a meeting of stake holders in the broadcast industry where forum under scored the need for Nigeria to embrace the new technology, so that the country would not be turned into a dumping ground for obsolete analog equipment reports shows that Nigeria has set June, 17,2010 as the switch- over date from the current mode of broadcasting to the netra modern digital terrestrial broadcasting the date is three years before the June 17, 2015 deadline for the entire world set by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) after its congress in Geneva, Switzerland in 2006 (Cortada, 2006).

          However the country officially stated the digitization of its broadcast industry in December 2007, following late President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua’s approval, directing the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC), the industry’s regulator to set motion and pilot the programme towards the target date (Adeniyi 2009).

1.2 Statement of the Problem

                Despite the overwhelming benefits of digital broadcasting, Nigeria is bound to face the following problems resulting from the low level of our technological advancement and the income level of the individuals. Thus, the following challenged abound,  with the current way of picking digital signals, using atenna, viewers are limited to whatever channels the antenna picks up and the signals quality will also vary,  digital television signals must not interfere with each other, and they must also coexist with analogue television until it is phased out, analogue switch-off would render a non-digital television obsolete, unless it is connected to an external digital tuner, an external converter box for digital signal, the adoption of a broadcast standard incompatible with existing analog receiver has created the problem of large number of analogue receivers being discarded during digital transition in the US where an estimate of 99 million unused analogue TV receivers are currently in the storage. Same thing is bound to happen in Nigeria, the economic power of all broadcast station to transit to digital is a big threat. Seeing that million of naira are involved in this transition.

1.3     Objectives of Study

i.       To examine if the transition from analogue to digital broadcasting have an impact on broadcast industry in Nigeria.

ii.     To know the challenges that transition from analog to digital poses for the broadcast station in Nigeria.

iii.  To examine whether digital broadcasting service in the country has enhanced broadcast production.

iv.  To study the importance that digitalization will bring to broadcast audience.

1.4     Research Questions

i.                   What impact would the migration from analogue to digital bring to the broadcast industry in Nigeria?

ii.                 What challenges do the transition from analog to digital poses for the broadcast station in Nigeria?

iii.              How has digital broadcasting services in the country enhance broadcast production?

iv.              What importance will digitalization bring to broadcast audience?

1.5 Scope of the Study

This study would attempt to explain the deregulation of television broadcasting and digitalization of television in Nigeria with a study of EBS and NTA Benin City).

1.6  Significance of the study SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY

          The work will benefit the media houses and media manger on the need to move from analogue to digital.

          Media, mass communication, journalism students will see reason to upgrade their skill and experience.

          Government at the national level will also find this material relevant to note the reason why Nigeria must not left out.

1.7 Limitation of the Study

          The research study will discuss the effect of deregulation of television broadcasting and digitalization of television journalist in Nigeria. There are alot of limitation to be encountered on the research study such as financial constraint, time factor, in availability of materials, inability of the researcher to give in-depth information, to analyses on constitutional provisions as contained in the NBC Act about deregulation of television in Nigeria.


This material content is developed to serve as a GUIDE for students to conduct academic research

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