Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Digital TV in Venezuela: safely pro regime (Globovision to be executed)

How late we are.....
URGENTE UPDATE (including modified title)

So today I read there was a cadena (I am at work, no broadband, no TV). The reason (any reason is good to promote the hair, Maduro) was to inaugurate the first relays of digital TV. According to the official state TV, VTV, we will start with 11 channels.

Since I am accused of being always a critic I will start by the good part. The regime insists that digital TV will be free (on open broadcast, cable remains pay, of course). Also, they claim that they have done enough investment to bring very soon 50% of the population within coverage (they claim installations in 13 cities already). That is it, that is all the positive I can manage to find.

The negative starts with Argentina being the contractor of the regime for the whole installation.

True, the technology has to be bought outside as it is the case for most countries. But once upon a time the Venezuelan broadcasting companies were perfectly able to finance and incorporate new technology to Venezuela TV (and communications in general). It is RCTV and Venevision (and later Televen) who covered the country first with black and white broadcast, then with color when the government then delayed for years its introduction as "unnecessary luxury". Again, when the developed world has been enjoying digital TV for quite a while, in Venezuela the regime has been going through delays after delays. Part is due to the incompetence and the likely corruption in choosing the digital TV standard. But the big part of it was to find ways to make sure the digital TV would be a window for propaganda. So, after 14 years of chavismo, the private sector limited in its broadcasting possibilities was not willing, or able, to do the investment necessary for the digital broadcasting and this time around it will be the regime. Let's not forget to mention that the regime already seized WITHOUT compensation the most extensive network in Venezuela, the one of RCTV so who in his sane mind will invest more than what is strictly necessary?

Hence the success of corrupt Argentina in brokering a deal with the regime, a deal that 10 years ago would have been totally unnecessary. But you know, Chavez needs extra votes at the OAS...

And the negative ends on the political aspect.

Once the regime had established by almost default that it would control all aspects of digital TV, it could afford to "invite" private broadcasters to join. That is: "I pay and thus I play with whomever I want to play".  Never mind that the other potential payers would not mind to play also. After all, the regime is not going to let another situation like Cable TV occur as cable TV has become the lone escape route for those who want to escape incessant propaganda through cadena or omnipresent state media. So the regime allowed to join only three private networks. Meridiano TV whcih is our local version of ESPN. Venevision which is now allied to the regime for all practical purposes. And Televen which has willingly neutered itself long ago. In  other words, if your choice is for digital TV, you will not be able to access any media that criticizes the regime or reports on the reality of the country.  Of the 11 channels, the other 8 are going to be the propaganda channels of VTV, ANTV, ViVe, etc....

I am not sure this is going to be a rousing success. First, who is going to invest on a digital TV receptor to watch state media?  The regime will have to give away decoders and sets! Second, even if you watch the invited networks, you can already watch them on cable where they will be without a doubt shown in HD/digital format as soon as they start their on air broadcast. Never mind that the quality of what is shown in Venevision is not appealing for the thinking public as Venevision has targeted the popular core of the country, making sure not to offend chavismo sensibilities.... TV trash, that is, of the worst kind.

But the intention is there, to introduce a Globovision free digital media in the hope that the barrios stop watching Globovision.  They are going to have to shut down Globovision in the end....


It is worse than I thought. Arriving home I learned that at no point was Globovision invited to any of the organizational meetings to set up the digital TV set up. And since the RCTV disaster no one can go on cable least they also do open broadcast, when the regime decides to shut off the analogies system Globovision (and others) will be automatically eliminated without any need to state it expressly. That is, venezuelan networks by law must be first open broadcast before being allowed on cable.

So now what? Will Venevision keep its alliance with the regime to eliminate all competition? Will the population accept the termination of the last critical and open information of Venezuela?


  1. Anonymous10:24 PM

    I saw something about this not long ago and wondered how the private stations would fare. The cost of hardware is not the problem. Cost are lower than the Analog equipment was. I don't know about Argentine transmitters but, Linear-Hitachi and Harris Corp in Brazil are big suppliers. Im sure its political. Also, i don't know where you found that map but, everyone in SA has switched to the ISDB-T standard which I must say is far better that the American ATSC system.

    1. The idea of the map, an old one already, is to ilustrate how late venezuela is coming to the game, not how good the techno is.

  2. The update is the key to the story. When analog goes away Globovision goes away with it. Only media towing the party line will be allowed access to spectrum. Another question is what happens to the spectrum that is freed up when analog goes away? Money to be made there.

  3. Anonymous9:55 AM

    How long will it be before the switch is complete and the analog sygnal turned off? Chavistas are incompetent enough for the first part to take years, a lot can happen in the meantime.

    1. I did include that in my post. they need to distribute enough free decoders before they can turn off analogue. It is going to take a while. Still, they are reckless enough to turn off analogue as soon as the Caracas barrios, the only ones that can tune on Globovision, are provided and let the South Eastern Part of the city without analogue signal, and no TV if they are not on cable or own a digital set. All is possible with these assholes.

  4. Dr. Faustus12:34 PM

    " First, who is going to invest on a digital TV receptor to watch state media? The regime will have to give away decoders and sets!"

    And that's exactly what they'll do. There is a precedent for this. During the early 1930's Joseph Goebbels made a point of giving away 'free' or inexpensive radio's to the German general public. By the end of the 1930's the Nazi's dominated the radio waves through most of the population centers of Germany with their thoughts and opinions. To the surprise of no thoughtful historian, the Nazi's then sent their tanks and armies to the cities of Warsaw, Brussels and Paris, with very little protest. Where could one protest anyway?

  5. Fair is fair... the US Cable operators were required to hand out decoders gratis.


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