Last updated
Integrated Services Digital Broadcasting
Type Incentive
Headquarters Japan

The Integrated Services Digital Broadcasting (ISDB; Japanese: 統合デジタル放送サービス, Tōgō dejitaru hōsō sābisu) is a Japanese standard for digital television (DTV) and digital radio used by the country's radio and television networks. ISDB supersedes both the NTSC-J analog television system and the previously used MUSE Hi-vision analog HDTV system in Japan as well as the NTSC, PAL-M, and PAL-N broadcast standards in South America and the Philippines. Digital Terrestrial Television Broadcasting (DTTB) services using ISDB-T started in Japan in December 2003 and Brazil in December 2007 as a trial. Since then, many countries have adopted ISDB over other digital broadcasting standards.


Countries and territories using ISDB-T





DTT broadcasting systems. Countries using ISDB are shown in green. Digital broadcast standards.svg
DTT broadcasting systems. Countries using ISDB are shown in green.

ISDB is maintained by the Japanese organization ARIB. The standards can be obtained for free at the Japanese organization DiBEG website and at ARIB.

The core standards of ISDB are ISDB-S (satellite television), ISDB-T (terrestrial), ISDB-C (cable) and 2.6 GHz band mobile broadcasting which are all based on MPEG-2, MPEG-4, or HEVC standard for multiplexing with transport stream structure and video and audio coding (MPEG-2, H.264, or HEVC) and are capable of UHD, high-definition television (HDTV) and standard-definition television. ISDB-T and ISDB-Tsb are for mobile reception in TV bands. 1seg is the name of an ISDB-T component that allows viewers to watch TV channels via cell phones, laptop computers, and vehicles.

The concept was named for its similarity to ISDN as both allow multiple channels of data to be transmitted together (a process called multiplexing). This broadcast standard is also much like another digital radio system, Eureka 147, which calls each group of stations on a transmitter an ensemble; this is very much like the multi-channel digital TV standard DVB-T. ISDB-T operates on unused TV channels, an approach that was taken by other countries for TV but never before for radio.


The various flavors of ISDB differ mainly in the modulations used, due to the requirements of different frequency bands. The 12 GHz band ISDB-S uses PSK modulation, 2.6 GHz band digital sound broadcasting uses CDM, and ISDB-T (in VHF and/or UHF band) uses COFDM with PSK/QAM.


Besides audio and video transmission, ISDB also defines data connections (Data broadcasting) with the internet as a return channel over several media (10Base-T/100Base-T, Telephone line modem, Mobile phone, Wireless LAN (IEEE 802.11), etc.) and with different protocols. This component is used, for example, for interactive interfaces like data broadcasting (ARIB STD-B24) and electronic program guides (EPG).

Interfaces and Encryption

The ISDB specification describes a lot of (network) interfaces, but most importantly, the Common Interface for Conditional Access System (CAS). While ISDB has examples of implementing various kinds of CAS systems, in Japan, a CAS system called "B-CAS" is used. ARIB STD-B25 defines the Common Scrambling Algorithm (CSA) system called MULTI2 required for (de-)scrambling television.

The ISDB CAS system in Japan is operated by a company named B-CAS ; the CAS card is called B-CAS card. The Japanese ISDB signal is always encrypted by the B-CAS system even if it is a free television program. That is why it is commonly called "Pay per view system without charge".[ citation needed ] An interface for mobile reception is under consideration.[ citation needed ]

ISDB supports RMP (Rights management and protection). Since all digital television (DTV) systems carry digital data content, a DVD or high-definition (HD) recorder could easily copy content losslessly. Hollywood requested copy protection; this was the main reason for RMP being mandated. The content has three modes: "copy once", "copy free" and "copy never". In "copy once" mode, a program can be stored on a hard disk recorder, but cannot be further copied; only moved to another copy-protected media—and this move operation will mark the content "copy one generation", which is mandated to prevent further copying permanently. "Copy never" programs may only be timeshifted and cannot be permanently stored. In 2006, [18] the Japanese government is evaluating using the Digital Transmission Content Protection (DTCP) "Encryption plus Non-Assertion" mechanism to allow making multiple copies of digital content between compliant devices. [18]


There are two types of ISDB receiver: Television and set-top box. The aspect ratio of an ISDB-receiving television set is 16:9; televisions fulfilling these specs are called Hi-Vision TV. There are four TV types: Cathode ray tube (CRT), plasma display panel (PDP), organic light-emitting diode (OLED) and liquid crystal display (LCD), with LCD being the most popular Hi-Vision TV on the Japanese market nowadays.

The LCD share, as measured by JEITA in November 2004, was about 60%. While PDP sets occupy the high-end market with units that are over 50 inches (1270 mm), PDP and CRT set shares are about 20% each. CRT sets are considered low end for Hi-Vision. An STB is sometimes referred to as a digital tuner.[ citation needed ]

Typical middle to high-end ISDB receivers marketed in Japan have several interfaces:

Copy-protection technology

All TV broadcasters in Japan are encrypted with Copy-Once, which allows users to record to a digital medium (such as a D-VHS, a DVD, or an HDD) but does not allow dubbing to another digital medium. On the other hand, the "Copy-Once" technology does not prohibit all types of dubbing. It is possible to dub to an analog medium (such as standard VHS), and if recorded to an HDD, it allows users to "Move" the contents to a D-VHS, but not copy. In contrast, 1seg digital broadcasts, which are for low-bandwidth mobile reception and occupy 1/13th of a digital channel, are transmitted "in the clear" and do not carry copy protection information.

Many users are also anxious about the recent news of severe protection in the future. There are modes in ISDB that do not allow the output of a signal from an Analog connector (such as D-connector, Component, Composite, or S-Video). There are already plans to restrict analog output (similar to Blu-ray and HD DVD) for "Copyright Protection" reasons, making all currently sold STB Tuners, LCD/Plasma TVs (without HDMI inputs), analog-output-only VHS and D-VHS systems, and DVD players, unusable. These more limiting copy protection technologies will all start after analog broadcasting ends (when there won't be any choice for viewers). Currently, no financial assistance schemes have been announced, forcing viewers without proper devices to buy new TVs or STB boxes that receive ISDB broadcasts. Though not clear, it is said that there are also plans to protect all programs with "Copy-Never".

The copy protection on ISDB broadcasts can be circumvented with the proper hardware and software. [19]

Brazilian standard ISDB-Tb does not implement this copy protection mechanism. For other countries, there are some examples of implementing a CAS system (such as Verimatrix) by the operators' choice.

B-CAS card

The B-CAS card is required to decode all broadcasts in Japan. These cards are included with every digital TV or tuner at no charge. To use this card, the end-user must agree to the statement written on the registration card. Although the card must be inserted to watch TV, if the end-user refuses to accept the terms/conditions contained within the statement, the user cannot watch digital broadcasts. Essentially, users are "forced" to agree with the statement. Though registration is not required, it is recommended to enjoy interactive programs. Unregistered B-CAS cards display a watermark in the corner of the screen, suggesting the user to register. However, many viewers worry about the leaking of personal information, and the power/rights the TV stations have to access personal information for almost every citizen in Japan. In case of loss or destruction, a new B-CAS card of the same number can be issued for a fee of 2,000 yen. [20]


A typical Japanese broadcast service consists as follows:

  1. One HDTV or up to three SDTV services within one channel.
  2. Provides datacasting.
  3. Interactive services such as games or shopping, via telephone line or broadband internet.
  4. Equipped with an electronic program guide.
  5. Ability to send firmware patches for the TV/tuner over the air.
  6. During emergencies, the service utilizes Emergency Warning Broadcast system to quickly inform the public of various threats for the areas at risk.

There are examples providing more than 10 SDTV services with H.264 coding in some countries.



Japan started digital broadcasting using the DVB-S standard by PerfecTV in October/1996, and DirecTV in December/1997, with communication satellites. Still, DVB-S did not satisfy the requirements of Japanese broadcasters, such as NHK, key commercial broadcasting stations like Nippon Television, TBS, Fuji Television, TV Asahi, TV Tokyo, and WOWOW (Movie-only Pay-TV broadcasting). Consequently, ARIB developed a new broadcast standard called ISDB-S. The requirements were HDTV capability, interactive services, network access and effective frequency utilization, and other technical requirements. The DVB-S standard allows the transmission of a bitstream of roughly 34 Mbit/s with a satellite transponder, which means the transponder can send one HDTV channel. Unfortunately, the NHK broadcasting satellite had only four vacant transponders, which led ARIB and NHK to work on ISDB-S: the new standard could transmit at 51 Mbit/s with a single transponder, which means that ISDB-S is 1.5 times more efficient than DVB-S and that one transponder can transmit two HDTV channels, along with other independent audio and data. Digital satellite broadcasting (BS digital) was started by NHK and followed commercial broadcasting stations on 1 December 2000. Today, SKY PerfecTV! (the successor of Skyport TV and Sky D), CS burn, Platone, EP, DirecTV, J Sky B, and PerfecTV!, adopted the ISDB-S system for use on the 110-degree (east longitude) wide-band communication satellite.

Technical specification

This table shows the summary of ISDB-S (satellite digital broadcasting).

Transmission channel codingModulationTC8PSK, QPSK, BPSK (Hierarchical transmission)
Error correction codingInner codingTrellis [TC8PSK] and Convolution
Outer coding RS (204,188)
TMCCConvolution coding+RS
Time domain multiplexing TMCC
Conditional AccessMulti-2
Data broadcastingARIB STD-B24 (BML, ECMA script)
Service informationARIB STD-B10
Multiplexing MPEG-2 Systems
Audio codingMPEG-2 Audio (AAC)
Video codingMPEG-2 Video


Frequency and channel specification of Japanese Satellites using ISDB-S

MethodBS digital broadcastingWide band CS digital broadcasting
Frequency band11.7 to 12.2 GHz12.2 to 12.75 GHz
Transmission bit rate51 Mbit/s (TC8PSK)40 Mbit/s (QPSK)
Transmission band width34.5 MHz*34.5 MHz
*Compatible with 27 MHz band satellite transponder for analog FM broadcasting.


New satellite version supporting 4K, 8K, HDR, HFR, and 22.2 audio. [21]


ISDB-C is cable digital broadcasting specification. The technical specification J.83/C is developed by JCTEA. ISDB-C is identical to DVB-C but has a different channel bandwidth of 6 MHz (instead of 8 MHz) and roll-off factor. [22]



HDTV was invented at NHK Science & Technology Research Laboratories (Japan Broadcasting Corporation's Science & Technical Research Laboratories). The research for HDTV started as early as the 1960s, though a standard was proposed to the ITU-R (CCIR) only in 1973. [23]

By the 1980s, a high definition television camera, cathode-ray tube, videotape recorder, and editing equipment, among others, had been developed. In 1982 NHK developed MUSE (Multiple sub-Nyquist sampling encoding), the first HDTV video compression and transmission system. MUSE used digital video compression, but for transmission frequency modulation was used after a digital-to-analog converter converted the digital signal.

In 1987, NHK demonstrated MUSE in Washington D.C. as well as NAB. The demonstration made a great impression in the U.S., leading to the development of the ATSC terrestrial DTV system. Europe also developed a DTV system called DVB. Japan began R&D of a completely digital system in the 1980s that led to ISDB. Japan began terrestrial digital broadcasting, using ISDB-T standard by NHK and commercial broadcasting stations, on 1 December 2003.


Treeview of ISDB-T, channels, Segments and arranging multiple program broadcasting. ISDB-T CH Seg Prog allocation.svg
Treeview of ISDB-T, channels, Segments and arranging multiple program broadcasting.

ISDB-T is characterized by the following features:


ISDB-T was adopted for commercial transmissions in Japan in December 2003. It currently comprises a market of about 100 million television sets. ISDB-T had 10 million subscribers by the end of April 2005. Along with the wide use of ISDB-T, the price of receivers is getting low. The price of ISDB-T STB in the lower end of the market is ¥19800 as of 19 April 2006. [24] By November 2007 only a few older, low-end STB models could be found in the Japanese market (average price U$180), showing a tendency towards replacement by mid to high-end equipment like PVRs and TV sets with inbuilt tuners. In November 2009, a retail chain AEON introduced STB in 40 USD, [25] followed by variety of low-cost tuners. The Dibeg web page confirms this tendency by showing low significance of the digital tuner STB market in Japan. [26]

Brazil, which used an analogue TV system (PAL-M) that slightly differed from any other countries, has chosen ISDB-T as a base for its DTV format, calling it ISDB-Tb or internally SBTVD (Sistema Brasileiro de Televisão Digital-Terrestre). The Japanese DiBEG group incorporated the advancements made by Brazil -MPEG4 video codec instead of ISDB-T's MPEG2 and a powerful interaction middleware called Ginga- and has renamed the standard to "ISDB-T International". [27] Other than Argentina, Brazil, Peru, Chile and Ecuador [28] which have selected ISDB-Tb, there are other South American countries, mainly from Mercosur, such as Venezuela, [29] that chose ISDB-Tb, which providing economies of scale and common market benefits from the regional South American manufacturing instead of importing ready-made STBs as is the case with the other standards. Also, it has been confirmed with extensive tests realized by Brazilian Association of Radio and Television Broadcasters (ABERT), Brazilian Television Engineering Society (SET) and Universidade Presbiteriana Mackenzie the insufficient quality for indoor reception presented by ATSC and, between DVB-T and ISDB-T, the latter presented superior performance in indoor reception and flexibility to access digital services and TV programs through non-mobile, mobile or portable receivers with impressive quality. [30]

The ABERT–SET group in Brazil did system comparison tests of DTV under the supervision of the CPqD foundation. The comparison tests were done under the direction of a work group of SET and ABERT. The ABERT/SET group selected ISDB-T as the best choice in digital broadcasting modulation systems among ATSC, DVB-T and ISDB-T.[ citation needed ] Another study found that ISDB-T and DVB-T performed similarly, and that both were outperformed by DVB-T2. [31]

ISDB-T was singled out as the most flexible of all for meeting the needs of mobility and portability. It is most efficient for mobile and portable reception. On June 29, 2006, Brazil announced ISDB-T-based SBTVD as the chosen standard for digital TV transmissions, to be fully implemented by 2016. By November 2007 (one month prior DTTV launch), a few suppliers started to announce zapper STBs of the new Nippon-Brazilian SBTVD-T standard, at that time without interactivity.

As in 2019, the implementation rollout in Brazil proceeded successfully, with terrestrial analog services (PAL-M) phased out in most of the country (for some less populated regions, analog signal shutdown was postponed to 2023).

Adoption by country

This lists the other countries who adopted the ISDB-T standard, chronologically arranged.

  • On April 23, 2009, Peru announced its decision to adopt ISDB-T as the digital terrestrial television standard. This decision was taken on the basis of the recommendations by the Multi-sectional Commission to assess the most appropriate standard for the country.
  • On August 28, 2009, Argentina officially adopted the ISDB-T system [32] calling it internally SATVD-T (Sistema Argentino de Televisión Digital - Terrestre). [33]
  • On September 14, 2009, Chile announced it was adopting the ISDB-T standard because it adapts better to the geographical makeup of the country, while allowing signal reception in cell phones, high-definition content delivery and a wider variety of channels. [28]
  • On October 6, 2009, Venezuela officially adopted the ISDB-T standard. [34] [35]
  • On March 26, 2010, Ecuador announced its decision to adopt ISDB-T standard. This decision was taken on the basis of the recommendations by the Superintendent of Telecommunications. [36]
  • On April 29, 2010, Costa Rica officially announced the adoption of ISDB-Tb standard based upon a commission in charge of analyzing which protocol to accept. [37]
  • On June 1, 2010, Paraguay officially adopted ISDB-T International, via a presidential decree #4483. [38]
  • On June 11, 2010, the Philippines (NTC) officially adopted the ISDB-T standard. [39]
  • On July 6, 2010, Bolivia announced its decision to adopt ISDB-T standard as well.
  • On December 27, 2010, the Uruguayan Government adopts the ISDB-T standard., [40] voiding a previous 2007 decree which adopted the European DVB system.
  • On November 15, 2011, the Maldivian Government adopts the ISDB-T standard. [4] As the first country in the region that use European channel table and 1 channel bandwidth is 8 MHz.
  • On February 26, 2013, the Botswana government adopts the ISDB-T standard. As the one of the first country within the SADC region and even the first country within the continent of Africa as a whole.
  • On September 12, 2013, Honduras adopted the ISDB-T standard.
  • On May 20, 2014, Government of Sri Lanka officially announced its decision to adopt ISDB-T standard, [41] and on September 7, 2014 Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe signed an agreement with Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapakse for constructing infrastructure such as ISDB-T networks with a view to smooth conversion to ISDB-T, and cooperating in the field of content and developing human resources.
  • On January 23, 2017, El Salvador adopted the ISDB-T standard.
  • On March 20, 2019, Angola adopted the ISDB-T standard.
  • On October 2020, Brunei Darussalam adopted the ISDB-T standard.

Technical specification

Segment structure

ARIB has developed a segment structure called BST-OFDM (see figure). ISDB-T divides the frequency band of one channel into thirteen segments. The broadcaster can select which combination of segments to use; this choice of segment structure allows for service flexibility. For example, ISDB-T can transmit both LDTV and HDTV using one TV channel or change to 3 SDTV, a switch that can be performed at any time. ISDB-T can also change the modulation scheme at the same time.

s11s 9s 7s 5s 3s 1s 0s 2s 4s 6s 8s10s12

The above figure shows the spectrum of 13 segments structure of ISDB-T.
(s0 is generally used for 1seg, s1-s12 are used for one HDTV or three SDTVs)

Summary of ISDB-T

channel coding
(Hierarchical transmission)
Error correction codingData:
Inner coding: Convolutional 7/8,5/6,3/4,2/3,1/2
Outer coding: Reed-Solomon(204,188)
Shortened code (184,102)
of Difference Cyclic Code (273,191)
Guard interval1/32,1/16,1/8,1/4
InterleavingTime, Frequency, bit, byte
Frequency domain multiplexingBST-OFDM
(Segmented structure OFDM)
Conditional AccessMulti-2
Data broadcastingARIB STD-B24 (BML, ECMA script)
Service informationARIB STD-B10
MultiplexingMPEG-2 Systems
Audio codingMPEG-2 Audio (AAC)
Video codingMPEG-2 VideoMPEG-4 AVC /H.264*
  • H.264 Baseline profile is used in one segment (1seg) broadcasting for portables and Mobile phone.
  • H.264 High-profile is used in ISDB-Tb to high definition broadcasts.


Specification of Japanese terrestrial digital broadcasting using ISDB-T.

MethodTerrestrial digital broadcasting
Frequency bandVHF/UHF, super high band
Transmission bit rate23 Mbit/s(64QAM)
Transmission band width5.6 MHz*


ISDB-Tsb is the terrestrial digital sound broadcasting specification. The technical specification is the same as ISDB-T. ISDB-Tsb supports the coded transmission of OFDM signals.


ISDB-Tmm (Terrestrial mobile multi-media) utilised suitable number of segments by station with video coding MPEG-4 AVC/H.264. With multiple channels, ISDB-Tmm served dedicated channels such as sport, movie, music channels and others with CD quality sound, allowing for better broadcast quality as compared to 1seg. This service used the VHF band, 207.5–222 MHz which began to be utilised after Japan's switchover to digital television in July 2011.

Japan's Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications licensed to NTT Docomo subsidiary mmbi, Inc. for ISDB-Tmm method on September 9, 2010. [42] [43] [44] The MediaFLO method offered with KDDI was not licensed. [45]

The ISDB-Tmm broadcasting service by mmbi, Inc. is named モバキャス (pronounced mobakyasu), literally short form of mobile casting on July 14, 2011, and had been branded as NOTTV since October 4, 2011. The Minister of Internal Affairs and Communications approved the start of operations of NOTTV on October 13, 2011. [46] Planning the service with monthly subscription fee of 420 yen for south Kanto Plain, Aichi, Osaka, Kyoto and some other prefectures from April 1, 2012. The deployment plan was to cover approximately 73% of households by the end of 2012, approximately 91% by the end of 2014, and 125 stations or repeaters to be installed in 2016 to cover cities nationwide. [47] [48] Android smartphones and tablets with ISDB-Tmm receiving capability were also sold mainly by NTT DoCoMo, although a separate tuner (TV BoX manufactured by Huawei; or StationTV manufactured by Pixela) could be purchased for iPhones and iPads as well as Android smartphones and tablets sold by au by KDDI and SoftBank Mobile to receive ISDB-Tmm broadcasts.

Due to the continued unprofitability of NOTTV, mmbi, Inc. shut down the service on June 30, 2016. [49]

2.6 GHz Mobile satellite digital audio/video broadcasting

MobaHo! is the name of the services that uses the Mobile satellite digital audio broadcasting specifications. MobaHo! started its service on 20 October 2004. Ended on 31 March 2009


A new terrestrial version should be proposed in 2020 and approved in 2021.

It should support 4K, 8K, HDR, HFR, and immersive audio. [50]

It has been suggested to use VVC video compression. [ by whom? ]


ARIB and JCTEA developed the following standards. Some part of standards are located on the pages of ITU-R and ITU-T.

Satellite television
Satellite television
Terrestrial televisionSatellite SoundTerrestrial SoundCable television
Nickname-ISDB-SISDB-T2.6 GHz mobile broadcastingISDB-Tsb64QAM, Trans-modulation (ISDB-C)
-ITU-R BO.1408ITU-R BT.1306-1-ITU-R BS.1114ITU-T J.83 Annex C, J.183
Server type broadcasting-ARIB STD-B38-
Conditional access-ARIB STD-B25 (Multi-2)JCTEA STD-001
Service information-ARIB STD-B10JCTEA STD-003
Data broadcasting-ARIB STD-B24 (BML), ARIB STD-B23 (EE or MHP like)-
Video/Audio compression and multiplexingMPEG-2ARIB STD-B32 (MPEG)-
Technical report-ARIB TR-B13ARIB TR-B14---

Table of terrestrial HDTV transmission systems

Table 1: Main characteristics of three DTTB systems
Source coding
VideoMain profile syntax of ISO/IEC 13818-2 (MPEG-2 - video)
AudioATSC Standard A/52 (Dolby AC-3)ISO/IEC 13818-2 (MPEG-2 layer II audio) and Dolby AC-3ISO/IEC 13818-7 (MPEG-2 AAC audio)
Transmission system
Channel coding-
Outer codingR-S (207, 187, t = 10)R-S (204, 188, t = 8)
Outer interleaver52 R-S block interleaver12 R-S block interleaver
Inner codingRate 2/3 trellis codePunctured convolution code: Rate 1/2, 2/3,3/4, 5/6, 7/8 Constraint length = 7, Polynomials (octal) = 171, 133
Inner interleaver12 to 1 trellis code interleaverBit-wise interleaving and frequency interleavingBit-wise interleaving, frequency interleaving and selectable time interleaving
Data randomization16-bit PRBS
Modulation8-VSB and 16-VSBCOFDM
QPSK, 16QAM and 64QAM
Hierarchical modulation: multi-resolution constellation (16QAM and 64 QAM)
Guard interval: 1/32, 1/16, 1/8 & 1/4 of OFDM symbol
2 modes: 2k and 8k FFT
BST-COFDM with 13 frequency segments
Hierarchical modulation: choice of three different modulations on each segment
Guard interval: 1/32, 1/16, 1/8 & 1/4 of OFDM symbol
3 modes: 2k, 4k and 8k FFT

See also

General category

Transmission technology

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Digital terrestrial television in the Philippines are in development by the Philippine major broadcasting companies.

Analog television in Uruguay had a history of more than 50 years since it began in 1956, with the first television channel, Channel 10. Since then Uruguay counts with three other channels, Channel 12 Teledoce, Channel 4 Monte Carlo TV and Television Nacional Uruguay

High-definition television (HD) describes a television system providing an image resolution of substantially higher resolution than the previous generation of technologies. The term has been used since 1936, but in modern times refers to the generation following standard-definition television (SDTV), often abbreviated to HDTV or HD-TV. It is the current de facto standard video format used in most broadcasts: terrestrial broadcast television, cable television, satellite television, and Blu-ray Discs.

ABNT NBR 15601

ABNT NBR 15601 is the technical standard published by ABNT, the Brazilian Association of Technical Standards, that is responsible for addressing the aspects regarding transmission on the Brazilian Digital Terrestrial Television Standards, also known as SBTVD or ISDB-T version B.

GMA Affordabox Set-top Box

GMA Affordabox is a Philippine ISDB-T digital terrestrial television provider owned and operated by GMA New Media, a subsidiary of GMA Network, Inc. The service distributes digital set-top boxes and USB OTG dongles with free-to-air digital TV channels, broadcast markup language, emergency warning broadcast system, functional auto-on alert, digital display, and info display services to select areas in the Philippines.


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