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Thread: Digital TV migration - why are we doing it?

  1. #1

    Default Digital TV migration - why are we doing it?

    Digital TV migration - why are we doing it?

    Why not just switch to satellite rather than rolling out a new digital terrestrial network?

  2. #2

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    Oh my fluffy socks! How much more are they going to waste on DTT? Don't they have anything better to spend our tax money on?

    All the reasons they have are completely BS!

    "This is because we don’t own or control the satellite." - You don't want to own the satellite! They only last ten to fifteen years and it much better to lease capacity from a provider that will ensure their is always a satellite available for your broadcasts! Buying and launching a satellite purely for the sake of owning it is moronic.

    On the point of pricing it is also worth noting that DStv and TopTV installations are subsidised on decoder bundles that include an installation voucher. - Just like cellphones on contract. It is a business model that works, unlike paying TV license fees and getting sweet blue ef all for it.

    Although the cost of putting up a dish is only slightly more expensive than putting up a terrestrial TV antenna, Koster said that the feeling is that the vast majority of South African households already have an antenna installation in place. - Wrong! In order to receive any picture whatsoever from DTT you need a decent signal strength. For that you need a suitable UHF antenna, typically a multi element yagi, and those are not cheap. The vast majority of viewers who are happy with their grainy reception now will be on the wrong side of the digital cliff when DTT goes live. They will have no option but to go DVB-S.

    “The majority of these will be used when we migrate to DTT a nd the cost is therefore limited to the STB,” Koster said. - What about the cost of converting each and every high site to DTT? How much did that cost? You could have leased capacity on satellite for at least a 100 years for that money. And besides, what about the Vivid platform that Sentech has? Why not just switch everyone to that?

    Koster added that a number of households that currently have antennas would unfortunately have to change them because of frequency changes and the like. - Exactly, and the aerials they need to upgrade too will probably cost more than a DVB-S installation.

    We can use terrestrial spectrum and broadcasts much more effectively for low latency bidirectional communication - like internet or mobile networks. Using to to stream mindless latency insensitive one way media is a waste - much like the entire DVB-T saga.
    You can do something for love, you can do something for money, but there is nothing quite so satisfying as doing something out of spite - Jeremy Clarkson, 1991

  3. #3
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    I agree Top TV with Decoder, Dish & Installation is R399 and basic package is R99 per month!...

    Cheaper then the new proposed system, and what SABC should do is offer a package on both platforms, at the same price of a TV Lic, and if you don't pay your TV Lic, they can cut you off!!

    so much cheaper, easier, hassle free! oh and loads of spectrum for Cell operators, not to mention 100% TV coverage in SA and Chrystal clear picture & sound.
    Who cares?

  4. #4
    You can't stop The Signal Jan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rouxenator View Post
    Oh my fluffy socks! How much more are they going to waste on DTT? Don't they have anything better to spend our tax money on?

    All the reasons they have are completely BS!

    "This is because we don’t own or control the satellite." - You don't want to own the satellite! They only last ten to fifteen years and it much better to lease capacity from a provider that will ensure their is always a satellite available for your broadcasts! Buying and launching a satellite purely for the sake of owning it is moronic.
    Perhaps not 100% clear in the article, but the issue with not owning or controlling the satellite is a security one. Government was loath to leave our national broadcasting infrastructure in the hands of a third party.

    They also felt it was too risky to have national broadcasts go through one satellite. If there's a problem with it the whole country's TV network goes offline.

    One thing I didn't mention in the article is that radio broadcasts would have to happen terrestrially anyway, so some kind of terrestrial network would have to be maintained.

  5. #5

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    One little detail. If you look back at the news stories about DTT you'll see a consistent reference to a two-way function of these set-top decoders. They are also intended to allow TV viewers access to "e-Government", to fill in forms and return data to the authorities. You can see this here:

    This means faster, clearer transmission with greater capacity for interaction (two-way communication instead of one-way transmission).

    - Using a return path capability, you may in time be able to access government information and services and send messages back, e.g. you can fill in and send back government forms without leaving home!


    So this sounds remarkably like a prototype of George Orwell's interactive TV system in Nineteen Eighty-Four. I of course wondered what they are going to use for the return signal -- are these set-top boxes going to be radiating? And if they are -- exactly what is going to be radiated, and when?

    And if these boxes are continuously radiating -- don't you think "the government" might be interested in what TV programmes you're watching?

    I spent months -- and I mean literally months -- phoning around everyone I could think of, to get answers to these questions. It was eventually down to someone from Digital Dzonga who simply never answered her phone, or ever answered repeated messages. So I gave up. Along with the smart tags for car licence plates to enable e-tolling, I could never get a straight answer as to what this meant for radiation across the landscape.

    Do YOU want to have an instant two-way communication facility with "the government" sitting on top of your TV set, watching you while you watch? Think carefully before you answer. Being constantly radiated at close range within your own house is just one of the issues involved.

    If anyone has any answers to how this two-way system is supposed to work, I'd be very interested.
    What lies ahead is --
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  6. #6

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    I don't understand why they want so much control over it. DSTV's sole business is to provide its customers with DVB-S entertainment and they seem to do just fine on leased capacity. They also has two satellites (Eutelsat W7 and Intelsat 7) and before that they had PAS-7 and PAS-10. If it works for a commercial entity then its more than good enough for crappy government ones.

    What did they to do Sentech's Vivid service anyway?
    You can do something for love, you can do something for money, but there is nothing quite so satisfying as doing something out of spite - Jeremy Clarkson, 1991

  7. #7

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    On the one hand they say most household already have antennas, then later they say that different antennas are going to be required because of a change in frequencies so which is it, or don't they know?
    Last edited by elf_lord_ZC5; 09-03-2012 at 01:02 PM.

  8. #8

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    All this costs for what channels and content?

  9. #9

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    Same old SABC channels. Only this time round it will be delivered to you as an H.264 MPEG4 stream... too bad the content is still crap.
    You can do something for love, you can do something for money, but there is nothing quite so satisfying as doing something out of spite - Jeremy Clarkson, 1991

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rouxenator View Post
    Same old SABC channels. Only this time round it will be delivered to you as an H.264 MPEG4 stream... too bad the content is still crap.
    They must be freaking mad! I rather smell some more enriched ANC fat cats in the making.

  11. #11
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    I agree on security, what happens if you are using a Chinese/US/Russian/French/Brazilian satellite and their government is not happy about some or other deal - they can hold our entire national broadcast for ransom. Then Satellite is a single point of failure, solar flares etc, a whole network of terrestrial transmitters is not. It also allows for regional/metro channels which would be quite nice too.

    Perhaps a better argument would be about how much spectrum is allocated to television vs for data networks - really we don't need many as VoD is taking over anyway. This would mainly be for state free-to-air stuff, we don't need 300 channels of crap.

    On two way, I highly doubt this - that would require the STB to have a pretty powerful transmitter which would probably be a health hazard. What is more likely is the STB can connect to your internet if you like for return traffic.
    Attention City of Joburg and its employees, you do not have permission to view this webpage, you will be charged for your malicious hacking crimes

  12. #12

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    Koster said that the feeling is that the vast majority of South African households already have an antenna installation in place.
    Yeah right! I have line-of-sight to the tower they were doing the (DVB-T) test transmissions from. I still had to do a significant upgrade of my outside antenna in order to get a picture. Even so, whenever it rained I lost the picture. And I had a fairly good analogue picture to begin with.

    OT: Btw, anyone else picking up the Tshwane TV channel?
    Think for yourself, Question authority, Know what's going on

  13. #13

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    "This is because we don’t own or control the satellite." - You don't want to own the satellite! They only last ten to fifteen years and it much better to lease capacity from a provider that will ensure their is always a satellite available for your broadcasts! Buying and launching a satellite purely for the sake of owning it is moronic.
    If they don't own the sattelite, they cannot switch it off to stop it broadcasting when politically expediant ... , is what they mean, third party's are way more efficient and proficient than government ever can achieve ... , or hope to achieve ...
    Good coffee should be, black like the Devil, hot like Hell, and sweet as a Kiss - Hungarian Proverb.

  14. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rouxenator View Post
    Same old SABC channels. Only this time round it will be delivered to you as an H.264 MPEG4 stream... too bad the content is still crap.

    Yep, the same ANC politically motivated trash - propaganda, whatever you want to call it. Entertainment for the "masses" ....

    Have not watched TV for 20 odd years, all value it has for me is to watch sport, Premier Leauge Football, Cricket, and the odd game of Thugbee ... , for that mostly I have a Drifta
    Good coffee should be, black like the Devil, hot like Hell, and sweet as a Kiss - Hungarian Proverb.

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    Very good discussion. Still feel that a good network with extensive coverage of terrestrial digital radio and TV, would be very worthwhile to have in this country. Yes, it will be I guess more expensive to set up than hiring capacity on a third party satellite. The problem is that the DoC, ICASA, the SABC and Sentech are such a terrible slow, inefficient and heavily politicised organisations.The argument that the satellite use is not enough under control of the authorities smells terribly of the usual BIG brother, neurotic control freak attitude of this "democratically" elected government, who wants nothing more than undemocratically mislead the masses.
    The Sentech Vivid signal is still around, I bought a decoder somewhere in 2006 or 2007, for a second TV, but they took out Etv long time ago and some other slightly better channels. Left are only the 3 SABC TV channels, France 24, and endless religious stations. It also offers all national and regional SABC radio stations. Already that time the decoder was extremely hard to come by, and way too expensive at R1140.Afterwards a very poor investment. As far as I know they are not available any more, but other semi legal imported devices might still be around, which don't need a smartcard and registration by Sentech.
    DVB-T or DVB-S decoders don't have to cost more than R250-R300. Bought a FTA (Free to Air) satellite decoder from a small business in Midrand last year Jan for R300, incl postage, for reception of some special free channels from the Astra 4A satellite, that also transmits the signal for Top TV. As this is just a minor niche product in SA, it means large numbers of the new DVB-T STBs don't have to cost more than that. In 2009, in the UK, one could pick up a Freeview decoder for less than 20 quit. The problem is, that this Gov wants to control and regulate everything and wants the decoders only produced here in SA. While, as unfortunate it is to say, that imported ones would be cheaper, especially when they scrap import duties. Then there will also no need for complicated bureaucratic schemes to subsidise the sets for the poor. After some time the chips or ICs for DVB-T will just be build in the TV units sold in this country, at an estimated extra cost of maybe R150-R200. Practically negligible.
    Why can the new portable devices of Multichoice, the Drifta and the Walka be so small and have small aerials ? No experience with these items myself. What kind of frequencies and technology are the using ?
    Karl Muller comes across as a bit of an Radiation freak, scare crow and is confused with the two-way, inter active Japanese/Brazilian DTT standard that the DoC and ICASA were considering some time ago. Happily they didn't chose for that complicated system.
    My suggestion for real broadcasting progress in this country is :
    1- Build ASAP a wide high quality network of DTT transmitters for digital radio and TV, and also include small towns and settlements previously without proper TV or radio reception. Signal should be so strong that in most areas one can really do with a small mini rabbit ears indoors antenna.
    2- Gov must not chose for DVB decoders with a smartcard. Leave the production and distribution solely to the free market. Scrap all import duties for these devices if they really want almost complete universal use. Prices will surely be very acceptable.
    3-Scrap the existing TV license system, very difficult to police any way. What is the real percentage of TV owners who actually pay their fees ? Only less than 20% of SABC budget comes from the TV license, most of the money comes from advertisements, and a few % from other Gov subsidies. The previously launched idea to increase personal income taxes with 1% to replace TV License fees was to my opinion not the best solution.
    4- Open the Digital terrestrial systems for reasonable rates to other not Gov associated, commercial radio and TV stations. Etv, 702, etc. Even Top and Dstv might bring their own decoders with smartcard working basically on the coded DTT system of Sentech.
    If Top TV is really meant for the lower end of the market , why don't they offer something like the Easyview package of Multichoice (R210 a year)for even slightly less? R179, for example.This is really a very basic offer that everybody can afford.
    Last edited by Marcan; 10-03-2012 at 05:31 PM.

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