The Venezuelan government began DTT trials on February 20, specifically in 13 cities in the country. The launch, in collaboration with Argentina, includes the free broadcast of 11 digital channels, including three private ones: Venevision, Televen and sports channel Meridiano. The government expects to deploy the analog switch off in 2018, although that date can be set forward.
The official launch of DTT trials was introduced by Executive Vice-president Nicolas Maduro and the Science, Technology and Innovation minister Jorge Arreaza, among other politicians. Maduro highlighted that Venezuela’s DTT is the result of joint efforts with Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay and Brazil’s governments.
Jorge Arreaza explained that a second stage of DTT deployment is being developed to end some of the “silent regions” in the country. This job, he said, is done together with the Argentinean government. Venezuela and Argentina will also share digital content for their respective channels. Argentine Planning Minister Julio De Vido said in March 2012 that “much of the contents of the Banco Audiovisual de Contenidos Universales Argentino, BACUA (Argentine Universal Content Audiovisual Bank), will be able to be transferred to Venezuela”.
Maduro also assured that “every Venezuelan home will have DTT in the short term, the best television in the world and the best television content wise”. And he stated that this step was given by President Hugo Chavez’ “express orders”, who returned to the country on Monday after being in a Cuban hospital for the last two months.
Venezuela chose the ISDB-T standard in 2009. In 2011, the government announced that the DTT deployment would began that year. However, the project gained momentum only during 2012, following the agreement signed with the government of Argentina. Initially, Argentina supplied Venezuela 13 DTT stations and 300 thousand STBs.