Policy and Practice in the Americas, Europe and Japan
Edited by Martin Cave and Kiyoshi Nakamura
Chapter 3: Digital Broadcasting in the Developing World: A Latin American Perspective
Hernan Galperin INTRODUCTION The broadcast industry is in the midst of its most important transformation since its beginnings almost a century ago. The basis for this transformation lies in the digitalization of the broadcast signals carried over the main transmission platforms: cable, satellite, and in the case of Latin America, the terrestrial broadcasting network. This is certainly not the ﬁrst time that the television industry faces reorganization on a massive scale. But for the most part, past technological transformations have spurred evolutionary, not revolutionary change. In most cases, black-and-white TV sets were still able to pick up several colour TV signals. Analogue cable and satellite TV largely brought more of the same: branded one-way programming services. The transition to digital TV is diﬀerent. It implies a complete re-tooling of the existing video production and distribution infrastructure, from studio cameras to transmission towers. It requires new mechanisms to compensate content creators and distributors in a world where perfect copies can be easily made and redistributed by viewers. And it raises multiple questions about the adequacy of the existing legal apparatus for the communications industry at large. In a sense, the transition to digital TV is about a revolution long overdue. Compared with related sectors, the pace of technological change in the broadcasting industry over recent decades has been much slower. Digital technologies have revolutionized the telecommunications and information services industry, as well as the production of audiovisual content. Yet the continued utilization of analogue equipment in the transmission and reception...
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