R4,000 digital solar TV kit for South Africa

Poynting has put together a kit for a solar-powered television that it has started selling in Kenya and plans to bring to South Africa in early January 2014, the antenna company’s digital TV business unit manager, Eduard Walker recently told MyBroadband.

Walker was among the team from Poynting at the AfricaCom conference in Cape Town which was held during November 2013, where they had the SunPoynt solar TV kit on show.

The kit is set to sell for around R4,000 and though it excludes a battery, it contains everything else needed to set up the solar-powered TV.

According to Walker, the kit consists of the following components:

  • 18.5″ 12V (Volt) light emitting diode (LED) television;
  • 52W (Watt) mono-crystalline photovoltaic solar panel;
  • 10A (Amp) solar charge controller;
  • 2x 3W LED light bulbs;
  • “DigiAnt” 8dBi (decibel isotropic) digital terrestrial television antenna;
  • Android set-top box;
  • Huawei 3G modem with 2dBi built-in antenna;
  • 5m (meter) USB cable; and
  • 500mA USB multi-connector for charging cellphones.
SunPoynt TV solar panel and DigiAnt installation
SunPoynt TV solar panel and DigiAnt installation

The expected lifetime of the included components are 15 years for the solar panel; 25,000 hours for the light bulbs; and 12 years for the controller. Walker said that the solar panel also comes with a 5 year guarantee.

Interestingly, Poynting has opted for digital terrestrial television (DTT) receivers, with the South African set-top box using the Digital Video Broadcasting – Terrestrial version 2 (DVB-T2) standard.

While South Africa has decided to adopt the DVB-T2 standard, some details around our migration to digital TV must still be hashed out.

In particular, the battle between DStv, E-tv, and the SABC on whether the signal of free-to-air broadcasters such as E-tv and the SABC should be encrypted, must still be settled.

Asked about this uncertainty, Walker said that for the moment they are betting that the DVB-T2 test signal as it is currently being broadcast by Sentech will remain unchanged.

On the back of the kit’s box, Poynting indicates that the following channels are currently available on South Africa’s trial DTT broadcast: SABC1–3, E-tv, Tshwane TV, MyTV, Mindset Learn, Mindset Health, SABC 1 HD, Lesotho TV, eAFR (E-tv Africa), and Soweto TV.

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Jan Vermeulen was a guest of Cisco at AfricaCom 2013

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R4,000 digital solar TV kit for South Africa