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Receiving Digital TV
I do now have an STB and the right antenna to use, how will I now receive digital free TV?
First, connect those inputs from the ports of your TV and the STB. Make sure that the antenna is properly connected to the STB, and the video I/O ports like HDMI and/or RCA cables are also properly connected to the STB and to your TV sets.
All are now connected properly, What’s next?
Turn on your TV and the STB. Put your TV into input video mode (input A/V mode for other TV sets), the mode where you watch DVD or Blu-Ray movies. The STB will now work for your TV, meaning, you’ll be having a separate remote control for DTV.
SCAN FIRST ALL CHANNELS. Scanning channels are required for DTV reception.
Scanning requires additional information. What will I put into those required?
Some STB supports scanning via the country. Just select Philippines among the choices. If the country is not among the choices, select Bandwidth of 6 MHz, Channels of 14-51, or the like.
I want to scan manually using the right frequency or the right UHF designation channel. Do this work?
Yes, some decoder boxes have manual scanning feature. Just input the right frequency of the channel or the right UHF channel and it will automatically be added to the STB channel listing.
Scanning is complete, but my STB didn’t detect any channels on digital free TV; what do you think happened?
Better check all connections again. Maybe you chose a wrong video mode input. Or the antenna placement is in the wrong place. Re-scan again after checking. If not, digital signals may not exist in your area.
I now receive those channels, what will happen next?
You can now enjoy those clear and crisp digital free TV signals on your TV. Discover more on your set top boxes for more information on how to use its various features like the EPG (electronic program guide), etc.
Getting Ready For Digital TV
What do I need before going digital?
Check your TV sets first if it has an ISDB-T support, the Philippines’ digital TV standard. If it doesn’t, it is required to have those set top boxes (decoder box) to decode those digital signals on free TV.
Also, you need an antenna with UHF band support. Digital TV channels will be situated on its new UHF band, so VHF antennas will not work anymore on DTV.
What is ISDB-T?
ISDB-T is a Japanese digital terrestrial television standard. It is used in Japan, South America, and the Philippines. The standard is known for its robustness and a consumer and broadcaster friendly standard. It can have a Fixed and mobile reception in 1 transmitter. Mobile TV broadcasts can be watched via 1seg.
ISDB-T can give you real-time news updates via BML datacasting which makes TV interactive and it also has an Emergency Warning System to quickly inform viewers of an upcoming disaster or terrorist attacks.
Where can I get a DTT-ready TV or a set-top box?
You can get them at your local appliance stores, hardware stores, discount outlets, supermarkets and online shops.
We suggest that you should check if your area has at least one digital channel before getting one and we also suggest that you contact the manufacturer before seeking help from us.
I am subscribed to a cable TV and/or direct-to-home satellite TV service. Do I need those to receive digital TV?
Well, you’re not affected with the digital free TV switchover if you’re under a cable and/or DTH subscription. You’ll still receive those free TV channels in your cable and/or DTH TV, as long as they carry all those channels in your subscription.
My cable and/or DTH TV are also in digital; does this mean I can receive those digital signals over-the-air?
Yes, all cable and DTH TV must carry all free TV channels. But there are some premium channels which will only be catered to digital free TV, so you can’t receive those channels, unless you’re going to cut those subscriptions and switch to digital free TV.
Remember, digital cable TV and digital satellite TV is different from each other, as well as the digital free TV.
I still have an analog CRT TV. Can I use it for DTV?
Yes, as long as you have a set top box (decoder box) connected to your TVs. They are connected via your RCA I/O ports.
What STB can we recommend to you?
We recommend an STB that has complete ISDB-T features. If you are asking if what brand and model should you get, we can’t give you an answer for that. We have our reviews which serves as a guide on buying an DTT device.
Does my new LCD TV receive Philippine digital free TV?
Check first if it supports ISDB-T, the digital TV standard of the Philippines. Other than that DTV standard will not receive those digital free TV channels here in the Philippines.
What if my LCD TV has no ISDB-T support?
Then you’ll need a set top box (STB) for your TV sets. Better if it has an HDMI I/O port for better quality. You’ll also need to connect those to your TV sets.
My Color TV has no RCA input. Can I still watch DTV?
Yes. You need to find a Set top box with an RF modulator.
Set it to Channel 3 or 4 or to any vacant VHF/UHF channel(depends on model).
If you can’t find a STB w/ an RF Modulator, you need to buy both STB and RF modulator.
My LCD TV does not have an HDMI port but it can support HD resolution. Can I still watch HD channels with an HD set top box?
Yes, you can still watch in HD via Analog component (YPbPr). Most HD STBs have these.
My TV has an “HD Ready” logo? Does it mean my TV is ready for HDTV broadcasts?
The “HD Ready” logo means that your TV is capable of displaying HD resolutions via HDMI,Component video, VGA and DVI. It does not mean that your TV is ready for HDTV broadcasts.
How about my current antenna? It is an indoor rabbit ears antenna.
Some high-gain indoor rabbit ears antenna will work on digital TV. Better if you change those antennas with UHF channel support. Remember, all digital channels situate only on UHF band, so you need a UHF antenna to receive those channels.
I do have an outdoor antenna; will it work for digital TV?
Yes, but check those antennas if it also supports UHF tuning. Some antennas, like Baron, are better for VHF band, which is not for digital TV. I suggest you better change those antennas with UHF band support.
Do I need to place those antennas in specific places?
Yes, but for excellent reception of digital TV, place your antennas near on windows. Heavily-shielded areas cannot, at some times, receive digital signals.
If you’re using outdoor antennas, it’s OK to place them on rooftops, as long as it has a line-of-sight with various TV transmitters around.
Common Digital TV Dilemmas
The TV channel looks pixelated and jumpy videos are occurring. What do this mean?
Pixelation of TV channels is one of the disadvantages of DTV. This is caused by digital signal degradation. Analog TV can still receive signals even those with snowy images and rolling white lines, but in digital TV, pixelation will occur once signal is degraded until it shows NO SIGNAL.
It says “NO SIGNAL”. I can’t receive any channel. But I scanned all TV channels before, what happened?
It’s because of poor reception. DTV needs better signal reception and signal quality. Remember, digital TV is usually either totally on, getting TV signals, or totally off, having no TV signals received.
Most STBs are equipped with signal meter to know whether how you will adjust the antenna into a place where it can receive strong DTV signals.
It says “SCRAMBLED CHANNEL”, “ENCRYPTED CHANNEL” or other notes that denote an encrypted channel. What should I do?
If your box displays that message, it means that the channel you’re trying to watch is encrypted and it can only be accessed through select receivers or if your receiver is capable of conditional access system.
DTT Channel Numbering
I noticed the channel has decimal numbers. What does this mean?
Decimal numbers in the channel designates channels in their specific frequency. A channel may be divided into 3-7 multiple SD channels or 2 HD channels. Those decimal points are sub-channels.
For example, a TV network may have one frequency but many sub-channels, entertainment channel placed in 2.1, news channel on 2.2, sports channel on 2.3, and so on.
How will I input those channels with decimal digits?
It depends on how the STB will direct or decode those multiple channel setups. Most STBs let you press the main channel number, directed to 1.1 for example, then you can press the channel up/down buttons to check all those sub-channels.
I saw the analog TV version of the channel says “LIVE ALSO IN UHF DIGITAL CHANNEL __”. Can I switch my STB by pressing keys __ to see its digital version?
Some STB works with this one, by pressing the UHF channel frequency designation. But most STBs require scanning first digital TV signals. In this way, the STB is collecting first the digital channels it will receive and then placing them into its logical channel numbering (LCN).
What is Logical Channel Numbering (LCN)?
Virtual channelling, or the LCN, is a somewhat a trick in digital TV where TV stations use virtual channels instead of using their UHF designation channel.
For example, an analog TV station is very popular using the Channel 2, which is in VHF. But in digital, channel 2 is in VHF, which is not used for DTV, so the TV network will use, for example, the UHF Channel 29.
The STB should decode Channel 29 its LCN being Channel 2, so the STB will place the channels into channels 2.1, 2.2, etc., depending on the number of sub-channels it transmits.
Digital TV Video Size and Quality
The channel looks like stretched, what will I do?
There’s a feature for the STB to automatically fit the video into the right size of your TV, the aspect ratio. Choose whether you prefer the stretch one, the auto fit, or the widescreen pan-and-scan mode.
It has black bars on top and bottom of my screen, what’s this?
Maybe the channel is HIGH DEFINITION or the content is mastered in HD. HD channels are purely widescreen in nature, with 16:9 aspect ratio, and it’ll have a letterbox (black bars on top and bottom) when viewed into a CRT TV.
LCD TVs are mostly better for HD channels.
My LCD has HD support; do this means I can watch also those HD digital free TV channels?
Yes, if your STB has an HDMI I/O port and connected via an HDMI cable into your LCD TV. You should receive high definition TV signals with that connection.
If not, you may check if your TV has a Progressive input (YCbCr) and make sure that your set-top box also has those ports.
I don’t have a STB with HDMI, it only has an RCA port; do I still receive the HD channel?
Yes, you will still receive it. But in reality, HD channels need to be connected via HDMI. So you cannot enjoy those high definition quality TV channels using the RCA ports.
How about the CRT TVs? Does it need an HDMI port to receive HD channels?
No. CRT TVs are only capable of standard definition (SD) and naturally, it doesn’t have an HDMI port. But in fact, you can still receive those HD channels with your STB, but the box will decode HD TV channels and convert it to native CRT TV aspect ratio. An RCA port will do.
I’m using LCD TV and noticed there are black bars on both sides of my TV, what does this mean?
This is a pillarbox coming from a standard definition (SD) channel. Standard definition is 4:3 of aspect ratio in nature. Since LCD TVs are in widescreen format (16:9 aspect ratio), some STBs are auto-stretching the SD channel to fit into widescreen format. Or if it doesn’t, select whether you want to use the pan-and-scan zoom video mode of the STB.
Digital TV On-The-Go
What do I need in order to watch DTV broadcasts on my phone, tablet or laptop?
You need a USB DTT dongle or Wireless DTT router via Wi-Fi or Bluetooth. You may also get a new phone/tablet/laptop with a built-in DTT tuner.
What OS has a DTT support?
For computers/tablet: Windows XP to 10, Mac OS X, Linux, Android and iOS
For smartphones: Android OS, Windows Phone 8.1/ Windows 10 Mobile, iOS, Symbian
For feature phone: Proprietary RTOS of any brand.
I have an analog TV phone, is there a way to add DTV functions?’
You cannot add DTV functions to your analog TV phone. We advise you to get a new device instead.