The vouchers for the discounted purchase of digital terrestrial television set-top boxes (STBs) to be distributed to Thai households in July look set to re-shape the country's broadcasting landscape.
Under the scheme, 11 million homes will benefit from a reduced cost DVB-T2 digital TV box, DVB-S2 satellite TV box or DVB-C cable TV box so that they can receive digital television services when the analogue signal is switched off.
Natee Sukonrat, chairman of Thailand's Broadcasting Committee, hopes that sales will be split evenly between DVB-T2 boxes and DVB-S2/C boxes so that all digital TV stations and cable and satellite TV operators have a chance to survive, reports The Nation.
The National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC) also hope the vouchers serve to encourage free-to-air satellite TV operators to enter its pay-TV licensing programme.
Even free-to-air satellite operators will have to apply for a pay-TV licence from the NBTC first to make them eligible to sell STBs under the voucher programme.
At the moment, 34% of Thailand's analogue TV viewers use an antenna, while the rest receive signals via cable and satellite TV networks.
It is expected that by 2017 most households will own a digital TV set, so by then most people will not require a separate STB to view the new digital TV channels.