Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Satellite technology to bring TV to every village




Satellite technology to bring TV to every village

Satellite technology to bring TV to every village

6-satellite-Use.jpg
6-satellite-Use.jpg

HENG CHIVOAN

Cambodia has taken another great leap forward in ICT development by entering the satellite age and using that technology to enhance television, phone and internet services.

Almost 60 foreign satellites have Cambodia in their footprint, including Thailand’s Thaicom, India’s Insat, China’s Asiasat and South Korea’s Koreasat.

The latest satellite launched that will beam into Cambodia is Vinasat-1, the first Vietnamese satellite which successfully blasted into orbit on April 19. This satellite will open up many of Cambodia’s more remote areas to telecommunications.

But the biggest effect of satellite technology will be the provision of television across Cambodia.

At the beginning of April, Techo-DTV’s service was launched, becoming the first satellite television network service to provide direct-to-home television programming for people who can afford $75 for a satellite dish with a set-top box unit.

Cambodian DTV Network Ltd, a subsidiary of the Thai Shin satellite company, will provide seven free Cambodian channels, and its website claims it will later provide pay-TV channels dedicated to news, movies, dramas, music, sports, shopping, education and documentaries.

However, there is some skepticism about the future of this technology because of the price of the equipment, and also because of the poor choice of channels and lack of program diversity.

But the government is pushing such criticism aside, pointing out that the technology provides access to TV for the first time in  remote areas of the Kingdom.

“The satellite technology is an essential tool for disseminating knowledge and information, and at the same time it guarantees the right of the people to access of information,” said Khieu Kanharith, the Minister of Information.

“In the future, educative channels will be added but for the moment we face a lack of human resources. The government has fully matched the potential of this technology,” he said.

A technician who specializes in satellite technology said this direct-to-home television is “not bad,” but it is just a beginning.

“It is less expensive to pay $75 for life than $10 per month for the cable,” he said. “But for $10 you get more than 60 channels, including foreign channels.”

Content will be one of the key determinant factors for the future of DTV, as Cambodia prepares to abandon the analog system and become digital before 2015.

“That’s what we plan to do in order to be like the others,” said Kanharith.

Adopting an international standard, which is supported by the International Telecommunication Union, brings advantages.

“Digital Terrestrial Television (DTT) allows, for example, reception of six channels on a single frequency,” said Olivier Sieber, executive director of Apsara Television.

The quality of pictures and sound should be better with DTT, but this new system also has drawbacks: new production equipment and adapted antennas are required. A set-top box will also be necessary, which is already less expensive than a satellite dish.

The big question is will DTT kill this satellite technology? If anything, the advent of DTT should prompt Cambodian DTV to offer a greater range of channels if it wants to remain competitive.

But an increase in channels could present a new problem – a lack of Cambodian content.

“It is not easy to tell stories,” explains Sieber, “And for that you need journalists, comperes, producers. Do you know how long you need to train a confirmed producer? Ten years.”

MOST VIEWED

  • ADB says Kingdom to lose 390,000 jobs

    The Asian Development Bank (ADB) predicts Cambodia will suffer 390,000 job losses this year due to the Covid-19 pandemic. But it congratulated the government for its response to the crisis and its cash transfer programme for the poor and vulnerable. Last Wednesday, the ADB approved a $250

  • Fish with human-like teeth makes splash

    An image of a fish of the family Balistidae with human-like features made its rounds on social media after a Twitter user snapped a photo of his catch in Malaysia. The original post has received 675 comments, 8,200 retweets and more than 14,000 likes as of Tuesday. Astonishing

  • Gov’t not using EU aid for poor

    Prime Minister Hun Sen on Tuesday refuted as “baseless”, claims that the government had used financial aid from the EU to implement the programme to identify and support poor and vulnerable people during the Covid-19 pandemic. The prime minister was responding to Roth Sothy, a

  • Royal Group inks $35 million road deal on Koh Rong

    Royal Group Koh Rong Development Company and Sinohydro Corporation Limited reached a $35 million deal on Tuesday to build a 70km road on Koh Rong Island. The road will be 8m wide and is expected to take 16 months to complete, according to the plan approved by

  • Thai fence said to prevent illegal crossing

    Battambang and Banteay Meanchey provincial police say Thailand is not invading Cambodia after a series of social media posts about fences being built on the border raised alarms. Banteay Meanchey police chief Ath Khem said on Tuesday the information on social media on Sunday and

  • Nine more students from Saudi Covid-19 positive

    Prime Minister Hun Sen said preventing the spread of Covid-19 depends on each citizen. He expressed concern that the pandemic will continue for longer. Hun Sen said this after nine Cambodian students who recently returned to the Kingdom from Saudi Arabia were found to be

  • PM to vet NY holiday dates

    The Ministry of Economy and Finance submitted a letter to Prime Minister Hun Sen asking him to formally set a five-day national holiday from August 17-21 to make up for the Khmer New Year holiday in April that was postponed. Finance minister Aun Pornmoniroth sent

  • Cambodia rejects UN rights claim

    Cambodia's Permanent Mission to the UN Office in Geneva on Friday hit back at David Kaye, the UN special rapporteur on the Promotion and Protection of the Right to Freedom of Opinion and Expression after he raised concerns over the repression of free speech and

  • Snaring may spawn diseases

    The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) has warned that snaring of animals has become a crisis that poses a serious risk to wildlife in Southeast Asia and could spawn the transmission of zoonotic diseases to humans. Its July 9 report entitled Silence of the Snares: Southeast Asia’

  • Ex-party leader, gov’t critic named as secretary of state

    A former political party leader known for being critical of the government has been appointed secretary of state at the Ministry of Rural Development, a royal decree dated July 9 said. Sourn Serey Ratha, the former president of the Khmer Power Party (KPP), told The Post