It’s official! SA will adopt the European standard for digital terrestrial television, TechCentral can reveal exclusively. Furthermore, the country will implement the second generation of the standard, known as DVB-T2.
Cabinet has endorsed a recommendation by a Southern African Development Community (SADC) task team that the region adopt DVB-T2.
Curiously, no mention was made in formal cabinet statements about the decision, with cabinet opting to leave the announcement to communications minister Roy Padayachie.
It’s expected that Padayachie will make a formal announcement after he returns from leave in mid-January.
The news will be welcomed by commercial broadcasters e.tv and M-Net, both of which have lobbied hard for SA not to change its commitment to adopting the European standard. Five years ago, SA, as part of SADC, made a commitment to the International Telecommunication Union to adopt the European standard.
Confusion was sown last year when the department of communications called an industry colloquium to re-examine a 2006 decision to adopt the European standard.
Brazil and Japan lobbied hard to have their standard, known as ISDB-T, adopted by the region, eventually prompting SADC communications ministers to appoint a task team to examine the issue.
The task team reported back on 25 November, recommending that the region adopt DVB-T2, but leaving the door open for individual countries to adopt other standards, provided they meet certain technical guidelines.
Padayachie’s adviser, Kuben Govender, has now confirmed — in an interview with TechCentral — that SA will adopt the European standard. He says cabinet ratified the decision at its last meeting of 2010, held on 15 December, and the cabinet minutes reflect this. — Duncan McLeod, TechCentral