December 2013 cut-off for analogue TV - TechCentral

December 2013 cut-off for analogue TV

Communications minister Roy Padayachie

SA will switch off analogue terrestrial broadcasts by December 2013, communications minister Roy Padayachie announced at a press conference on Friday morning.

Previously, government had set a deadline of November 2011 for the switch-off of analogue broadcasts. This means the spectrum that will be freed up through the migration process could become available to telecommunications operators by as early as 2014.

Government has committed to switch off analogue broadcasts by no later than mid-2015.

Padayachie used the press conference to confirm what TechCentral readers have known for the past two weeks: SA will adopt the second generation of the European standard for digital terrestrial television, known as DVB-T2.

The minister confirmed this at a media briefing in Midrand on Friday. The announcement follows cabinet’s endorsement of the decision at its last meeting of 2010.

The news is likely to be welcomed by commercial broadcasters, which had objected to government’s decision in 2010 to reconsider its 2006 commitment to the International Telecommunication Union to choose the first generation of the European standard.

Both Japan and Brazil have lobbied hard for the Southern African region to adopt an alternative standard, known as ISDB-T.

This lobbying prompted communications ministers in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) to appoint a task team to investigate whether the region should reconsider its 2006 commitment to adopt the European standard.

The task team recommended that SADC countries adopt DVB-T2, but left the final decision up to individual countries. But it’s understood that cabinet has endorsed the task team’s findings and the country will adopt the European system. — Duncan McLeod, TechCentral


  1. Excellent News! This will ensure that South Africans benefit from the most advanced broadcasting technology. It also means that the real work towards digital migration can finally start! Lets keep in mind that ultimately the average South African will drive the migration time lines – not a published switch off date. Let’s ensure that there is fantastic content, excellent network coverage and an abundance of low cost receivers to make it interesting and compelling for viewers to invest in the receivers and migrate to digital.

  2. Samson Hlabane on

    I have always had trust in General Nyanda’ intension and statements such as “A REVIEW of community, busines and government services and products needs is necessary in this day of age but not to their disadvantage”. We must give credit to the ANC led DOC under Nyanda’s leadership that at least he went for a national debate that has now given us a fresh and improved version of the same DVB standard that our Government approved. It is now time for Comrade Roy to take over from what the General has initiated. Icasa must roll and meet the deadlines, Sentech must be urgently funded to upgrade their network to DVB-T2. Forward ever – backwards never. Aluta Continua!

  3. @Robert MacLean

    Instead of tuning in to stations, you’ll need a DVT-T2 Decoder box (or a new TV with one built in) which understands the new signal. The signal is normally received via the antenna you currently use for reviving normal SABC/eTV. People with poor signal may need to have a better antenna installed. If the signal is excellent, the old style Bunny-Ears style antenna should be sufficient. If the signal is not good enough you get no picture, instead of a degraded quality picture.

    Stations are tuned digitally. Electronic Program Guides, subtitles, mini-interactive functions (eg games) etc can be made available by the broadcaster. Kind of like a DSTV Lite service without needing a dish or decoder subscription.

  4. With DVB-T2, we will get a larger number of free-to-air chanels and FREE HDTV CHANELS!

    I´m very happy! DVB-T2 is the latest terrestrial technology available today, that´s why it is considered the ONLY SECOND GENERATION STANDARD IN THE WORLD!

  5. @ Samson

    Actually we went backwards 🙂

    What comrade Nyanda and his gang did was to screw up South Africa’s image internationally, delay the digital migration process by 18 months or more and cost local manufacturers market opportunities in Africa.

    Had the decision been to decide between DVB-T or DVB-T2 this would have been fine and a quick process as there would have been no vested interests and the technical merits would have been the only consideration, but the actual process was more about trying to get ISDB-T adopted over the DVB standard.

    South Africa was leading Africa in the digital migration process and the World Cup would have been the ideal opportunity to affect take up (get the masses to adopt digital TV!).

    The net result is that we missed the World Cup, even though the trial started in November 2008 with locally manufactured Set Top Boxes and was succesful, and instead of being a leader in Africa we are now following the pack. Local companies have laid off staff and opportunities in Africa are becoming less likely. Way to go!

    It is sad that in a country where there is so much potential the village idiot gets to screw things up for personal gain.

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