Chavez’ Digital TV: Much Ado About Nothing?

March 4, 2013

feb 21 TV-digital-en-Vzla

Recently, there was a lot of noise made about the new Venezuelan (Chavista?) digital TV standard, presented by President-in-impostor Maduro, together with Chávez’ son in law and Minister of Technology and Science Jorge Arreaza, who has lately been capturing a lot of the headlines, as spokesman for the soon to be Chávez Royal family.

According to Arreaza, the digital TV project is Chávez pet project, and it does not surprise me: The project does nothing to develop our own technology, it overpays for technology so that it can be purchased from his buddies and it has a fascist streak inside it.

Sounds like Hugo all right.

The focus so far on the digital TV  project has been either on the fact that Globovision was excluded, as covered by CC, or Daniel´s recent post on the related SIBCI system created by the Chavernment. But while in Caracas a couple of weeks ago (side note: I was actually on my way to meet the great Juan Nagel, of CC fame), I was listening to the radio and this guy (I don’t know who it was) was blasting the whole project from the technological to the corruption angle. You see, censorship under Chavismo has some very peculiar features: You can say what you want, as long as you don’t become a target. If you become a target, watch out! Anything can happen, from concession suspension, to jail, to having your boss be pressured to remove you.

But if you are an analyst at 8 PM on an elitist radio station, you are as much of a target as, say, an English language blogger. Bloggers seem to annoy or irk the friends of the Chavernment, not the Chavernment itself.

In any case, after listening to the story on the radio, I decided to look into it. And the whole thing is as bizarre as most of the last fourteen years. And by the way, I still find it very hard to understand how people who claim to be so nationalistic and to defend sovereignty, can not only ignore our own technical capabilities, but sell their ideals in exchange for money or simple admiration (or infatuation) for others.

The story actually starts when Venezuela decided to develop digital television before any other Latin American country had announced to do so. The origin is obscure, but it seems to originate in Socorro Hernandez, then President of CANTV, today a CNE Director, who chose a Chinese standard DTMB (and technology) for the project. Rumor has it that actually the Chinese chose her, as the Chinese standard, barely existed there at the time and even today, only exists there. And you have to give credit to none other than Jesse Chacón, credit where it is due, that realizing Socorro’s folly, stopped it and went for the Japanese/Brazilian standard.

The Japanese jumped at the chance, even suggesting they could finance a pilot project of turning VTV’s (the Government’s TV station) signal into digital. But after a couple of hundred million dollars (Chavistas know how to add and use foreign currency!) not much happened, the Japanese and Brazilians gave up in disgust and that is when the sneaky Argentineans stepped into the project.

And we are not talking about just any Argentinean, we are talking about the De Vido brothers, in charge of Planning and Science. Julio, the one in Planning is the big shot, he is none other than the one that was in the famous flight where Antonini got caught with the US$ 800,000 briefcase, known as Maletagate.

Meanwhile at Cendit,the National Center for Research and Development in Telecommunications, whose logo is “Building Sovereignty in Telecommunications”, some well meaning guys actually developed all of the technology for building the decoders in Venezuela. Despite this, the “labia” of the Argentineans had more power and Venezuela contracted for thirteen transmission systems and 300,000 decoders with them, reportedly the decoders were overpriced by a factor of three. (Which could be justified to have them developed in Venezuela, but not in Argentina)

But you see, the big selling point of the Argentineans was the fascist angle. In contrast with digital TV projects elsewhere, where access to the spectrum and the signals is just a standard provided by the State, in Argentina the idea is for the Government to offer “free” digital TV controlled by the State to compete with subscription based satellite and cable systems, which dominate in that country.

The problem is that in Venezuela, the digital TV signal will not eliminate the analog one until seven years from now. By then, the face of television, whether by Internet, or cable, satellite or whatever, will have changed forever, making the whole project and the noise, much ado about nothing. Except that the Japanese, the Brazilians, the Argentineans and the Chinese have sold us new trinkets on our way to digital “sovereignty”.

Not much has changed since Columbus. We are still dazzled shiny trinkets

Which would be funny, if the intent was not so fascist in the end.

40 Responses to “Chavez’ Digital TV: Much Ado About Nothing?”

  1. m_astera Says:

    I think Chavez was supposed to be the new communist bogeyman to replace the worn out Castro. What he was being set up as. But as Robbie Burns wrote, the best laid schemes o’ mice and men gang aft agley.

    As Lou wrote above about the air traffic from Venezuela to the US, some people are scrambling. I think they are going the wrong direction. Maybe not, if they are only thieves and liars. I’m smiling thinking of Maduro on one of those planes. Or Capriles. We don’t need cowards here. We need honrado.

  2. Kolya Says:

    Lou=GWEH, no doubt.

    At least he is ashamed to be using the same moniker after he predicted so many things that never came to pass.

  3. firepigette Says:

    For those of you who are so much on the inside or psychic as to be ‘ in the know’ of all great things secret:

    None of you have information that will make any difference.

    Can any of you think what can actually make a difference??

    Sooner of later the public will know something that none of us will ever know if it is true or not.What is true however and what will be true in the future is the state that Venezuela is in today.Everything else is only a belief.

    Chavistas will think one thing and the opposition will be divided according to their wishes.

    • concerned Says:

      The truth behind the last few months coverup could be disasterous for maduro and company. But you are right that in the end people will believe what they want to believe. With chavismo in full control of the local media and propaganda, it will not be hard to sway the doubts of the the faithfull coolaid lovers.

      • Gordo Says:

        However, the economy is still in melt-down! Funny how the bourgeoisie (what’s left of it) has waited until now to destroy the economy!

  4. Lou Says:

    The private bird activity tells me folks are packing their bags! I hear they are scrambling

  5. Lou Says:

    It was late and some of my comments not clear. There has been a lot of private jet activity in the past days specially between VE and US. Yesterday was very active. Air ambulances have been flying between US and VE…one yesterday took a patient from Mcbo to Tampa. This is unrelated. The airlines last night all resumed their course…I cannot read much into minor course changes. Someone else is posting under ‘Lou’ you can tell.

  6. concerned Says:

    I called it last week. chavez dead since december. Body returned to venezuela to “die”. chavez now fighting for his life, and then the final “new” infection which will finally do him in. He fought the good fight, giving his all for venezuela…bla,bla,bla.

    Announcement coming soon.

    The only thing unknown is what now?

  7. m_astera Says:

    For those who read history and not get it from the approved government channels. I would recommend putting the blame on the communists, not the fascists. If you read real history.

  8. bt Says:

    It’s always amazing to me that chavistas (and all communists) have to use capitalist technology to spread their scat. Why don’t they invent and use their own stinking technology. Chavez uses Twitter, what commie invented that??? His jetliner, invented and built by capitalists. TeleSur, television was completely developed by capitalists. Maybe his automobile was invented by a communist!

  9. Roger Says:

    Is this a new board game? Where in the Latin World is Hugo Chavez?

  10. Lou Says:

    Not gonna read much into this

  11. Lou Says:

    JFK to SP, MIA to RIO, ORL to SP, JFK to RIO…all TAM or AA seem diverted to Venezuelan airspace. There’s more

  12. Lou Says:

    There is some abnormal civil air activity I’m being told. Flights not getting airspace clearance

  13. Lou Says:

    Update: even if they r not transferring body from cuba and body in Venezuela, issue is when and where to take and when to announce. A likely time is after people go to work tomorrow.

  14. Roger Says:

    I researched this just after they made their big pronouncement. Some where on the Conatel site I found that this is a satellite delivered system which is why only National Networks (in good standing) can be on it. It works like this: The eleven or so stations involved are compressed into an advanced video codec called H.264 (or sometimes MPEG4) and then multiplexed ‘(cost, well under 100K$) into the ISDBb signal as an ASI (data) package that is up-linked on the Simon Bolivar satellite. At the receive sites this package is converted back to ASI with a receiver that cost a few thousand dollars and sent directly to the transmitter. Now the first thing you need to know about digital transmitters is that watt for watt they are about 14Db or 20 times more efficient that analog transmitters so you so you get a lot of bang for the watt. Now I have a quote from Linear in Brazil for a 500w transmitter for just under 20,000USD and a 1Kilowatt one would be just under 30K$. Add to this say 10-20K$ for an antenna and transmission line and 13 of these things ain’t a lot of money. The Satellite transponder? Gratis por El Comandante! Now, the cost of installation and getting some Venezuelans to assemble the set top boxes….. staggering!
    A final note to the Argentinian Engineers on this project. Get your money up front!

  15. Lou Says:

    I have to clarify that there s no unusual air traffic now,,,my mistake. But Miraflores is abuzz right now

  16. Lou Says:

    They will probably use the A319, military C-130, or Cubana Ilyushin to transfer body. Lots of aircraft movement between Cuba and Venezuela underway

  17. Lou Says:

    They are going to suggest he’s alive and transfer him to Barinas to die next to mother when in reality they are flying body in. Don’t know where they are going to land or type of equipment used. Anyone?

  18. Lou Says:

    They are in the air right now…. No joke

  19. Lou Says:

    reliable source says he’s in Havana!

    Update: transfer in progress!!!! They are returning body from Cuba now.

  20. Lou Says:

    If they announce tonight, spicy schezuan noodles on you 🙂

  21. Lou Says:

    Or he’s already dead

  22. Lou Says:

    He’s not in the hospital and casa militar not around – confirmed today

  23. moctavio Says:

    I dont know, premature, Villegas says muy delicado, new respiratory infection, he may live another day.

  24. Lou Says:

    Bet they announce his passing tonight. I’m off to the sport book for a wager!

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