9 November 2010
MUSCAT - An ultra-modern digital TV studio complex in Oman, under construction at the Information City in Qurum, will start functioning at the end of next year, paving the way for transmission of television programmes in the high definition format for the first time in the country.
Sony Corporation of Japan was on Sunday awarded the technical contract for the complex, marking the launch of the second phase of the project. The first, consisting of civil construction works, began in 2006.
The agreement with Sony, worth RO27 million, was inked by Information Minister Hamed bin Mohammed Al Rashdi with Hidiyaki Nakumura, CEO of Sony Middle East, and also involves renovation of TV studios in Salalah.
Key executives of the Japanese firm said the project would place the sultanate as the leader in the region “in terms of using the most advanced TV production technologies,” adding that when completed in November 2011, it would “allow TV viewers to enjoy the full features of HD transmission for the first time in the region”.
Information Ministry officials said the complex would be a “qualitative and major leap for the TV programme production in the sultanate using the most advanced digital technologies”.
The new facility will replace the existing studios that are in operation since 1974 and “don’t meet the daily needs and do not cope with modern technologies”, the officials noted. The ministry had earlier signed the consultancy deal for the project with an international company which designed the complex using a combination of traditional Islamic and modern architecture.
The complex will occupy an area of 21,000 square metres and comprise, besides the studios, a power sub station, a central A/C unit and car parks.
Besides four studios, ranging between 200 and 700 square metres in size, the facilities will include a newsroom, designed to international standards, and a 1,500 square-metre theatre with a capacity for 700 people.
The main control room for the central digital network, the core of the digital system, will feature huge computer terminals that monitor the inflow of information through different sections of the complex, besides archiving audio and video data.
Work on the RO13 million first phase of the project began in March 2006 and is due to be completed in February 2011.
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