Digital TV migration only finished by 2016?

South Africa’s migration to digital broadcasting will only realistically be completed by 2016, says 8ta managing executive Amith Maharaj

June 3, 2011
DVB-T2 broadcast tower

While the Department of Communications has said that South Africa’s analogue television broadcasts need to be switched off by December 2013, 8ta managing executive Amith Maharaj said that the digital migration will likely only be completed in 2016. This is based on information Maharaj said he recently received around the cost of DVB-T2 set top boxes (STBs).

The international switch-off date for analogue broadcasts prescribed by the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) is 17 June 2015.

Aynon Doyle, regulatory affairs manager at MIH Group for MultiChoice, said that though he agrees the migration will only be completed after the 2013 deadline, he feels Maharaj’s estimate is perhaps overly pessimistic.

There are also too many factors beyond the control of broadcasters to accurately predict when analogue broadcasts may finally be switched off, Doyle added.

The new SANS specification for DVB-T2 STBs that the South African Bureau of Standards (SABS) must still put out was one such factor, Doyle pointed out.

Doyle said that the problem isn’t that the DVB-T2 network won’t be ready in time, but that set top boxes could cost upwards of R800.

This means that it could take the government a long time to adequately subsidise and supply poorer citizens with a box. When analogue transmission is switched off, those without a set top box, TV with built-in DVB-T2 tuner, or satellite TV subscription, will no longer be able to watch TV.

A delay in the analogue broadcasting switch-off will also have a knock-on effect on mobile broadband, Maharaj explained.

When the switch from analogue to digital broadcasting is complete, a section of the frequency spectrum, known as the “digital dividend,” will become available for other uses.

Terrestrial TV broadcasts occupy low frequency spectrum that is desirable for mobile network operators, partly due to the wider coverage it offers.

Maharaj illustrated this by explaining that with their current spectrum they may need 10,000 base stations to cover the whole country whereas they would need 4,000-odd towers to achieve the same result with digital dividend spectrum.

Related articles

First DVB-T2 switch-on in June 2011

Digital TV set-top boxes: Subsidies and targets

Digital TV migration in SA: The road so far

Digital TV interactivity: What does it really cost?

Digital TV: Connecting the unconnected?

Tags: 8ta, Amith Maharaj, Aynon Doyle, Department of Communications, digital broadcasting, digital dividend, DVB-T2, Headline, ITU, MultiChoice, SABS

Free Email Newsletter:
Subscribe

Shutterstock is the image partner of MyBroadband – technology images can be found here

Join the conversation

Connect with MyBB

twitterfacebookandroidappleblackberrynewsletterfeed

Poll

Will you make voice calls via WhatsApp when the service becomes available?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...

More News

Altech Node hands-on

Altech Node press shot — front

Here’s what you can expect from Altech’s foray into on-demand video

Apple blocks access to users’ accounts

The five colors of the new iPhone 5C are seen after Apple Inc's media event in Cupertino, California September 10, 2013.

Apple unveiled new policies that block its access to users’ mobile devices, even with a warrant, the tech giant revealed late Wednesday

Sandton cellphone store robbed

Robbery break-in crowbar

A cellphone shop was robbed at Benmore shopping centre in Sandton, north of Johannesburg, Gauteng police said on Thursday

Pirates move to the cloud

South African cloud

Online piracy of music, films and other content has moved to the Internet cloud, reaping big profits for digital thieves, according to a study released Thursday

Free MyBroadband Newsletter:
Subscribe
X
bool(true)