Digital TV standards row rages on - TechCentral

Digital TV standards row rages on

Communications minister Roy Padayachie

The battle over which standard SA will use for digital terrestrial television rages on, with a plan by the National Association of Manufacturers in Electronics Components (Namec) to contest a decision by cabinet in favour of the European system.

Namec chairman Keith Thabo says the group, along with organised labour, have engaged with communications minister Roy Padayachie and President Jacob Zuma.

The association wants cabinet to reverse its decision that SA will adopt the second generation of the European standard for digital TV.

The group’s plans to contest the decision, first revealed in the Business Report newspaper on Wednesday, are as a result of its belief that a Brazilian version of a Japanese standard, known ISDB-T, would have a more beneficial economic impact than the European offering.

On Monday, TechCentral revealed exclusively that cabinet had endorsed a recommendation by a Southern African Development Community (SADC) task team that the region adopt the European standard.

The news followed a year of uncertainty, during which time the department of communications entertained multiple standards.

Brazil and Japan lobbied hard to have 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 Europe’s DVB-T2, but leaving the door open for individual countries to adopt other standards — provided they meet certain technical guidelines.

Although Padayachie has not yet made a formal announcement on the matter, his adviser, Kuben Govender, has confirmed — in an interview with TechCentral — that cabinet has endorsed DVB-T2.

Govender has confirmed that cabinet ratified the decision at its last meeting of 2010, held on 15 December, and that the cabinet minutes reflect this.

However, Namec is angry at the decision, saying cabinet was “clearly poorly advised” on the value of the Japanese-Brazilian standard. “Government didn’t consult enough with stakeholders,” he says.

Thabo says the department of communications should also not be able to make the decision exclusively. “The department of economic development and the department of science & technology should also have had a say,” he says.

He says government does not understand that the Japanese-Brazilian standard will have a wider impact on economic growth than the European standard. “ISDB-T gives us free access to middleware that we can modify and develop for ourselves. We could end up with our own standard that can be used to generate jobs and encourage small business,” he says.

SA’s decision in 2006 to use the European standard was a bad one to begin with, Thabo says.

“The reason we are in this mess is because the broadcasters managed to persuade late [communications]minister Ivy Matsepe-Casaburri to use the [European] standard. I can’t prove it but money has definitely changed hands somewhere,” he says.

According to Thabo, the only people who will benefit from the European standard are the large broadcasters and established manufacturers.

Late last year, Brazil and Japan, in conjunction with government-owned signal distributor Sentech, conducted a trial of ISDB-T in SA.

Many local engineers called the test a failure, since there was evidence that the signal interfered with established local broadcasts.

However, Thabo says the information that was released on the trial, was provided by a rival group, the SA Digital Broadcasting Association (Sadiba).

Sadiba has never supported the Japanenese-Brazilian standard and Thabo says the group has been trying to “peddle propaganda” to prevent its implementation locally.

However, Sadiba chairman Lynn Mansfield says the group’s aim was to clarify the value of the European standard. “What we were doing was peddling facts,” he says.

Mansfield says the standard SA implements for digital broadcasting shouldn’t matter to manufacturers because they will build the devices used for viewing the signal, no matter which standard is used to do it.

“It makes me believe that they have been offered something by the Japanese, the same way the Japanese offered the Brazilians something,” he says.

He says if cabinet has agreed to go with the European standard then it has made the right choice.

According to Mansfield, rekindling the fight now is pointless. “Unions must not lose sight of the fact that DVB-T2 will be far better for the economy in the long run,” he says. The efficiency of the technology will free up more valuable spectrum that can be used later by telecommunications operators for high-speed wireless Internet.  — Candice Jones, TechCentral

See also: Cabinet chooses T2 for digital TV

19 Comments

  1. I think the guys from Namec, was offered big bucks if they created the decoders that time when the brazilian governemnt offered the alternative standard, that’s the reason why they appealed.

    Don’t they know that the two standards were tested in S.A. and it emerged that the European standard would be the best. Dumb@sses.

  2. Who are these guys? Checked out their website and look like a real bunch of Yahoos.

    Not even a members list to show that they actually represent someone with any interest in this.

  3. Namec is getting a lot of money from the corrupt brazilians to desperately change the decision and make us isolated with latin-america! DVB-T2 is still the best choice!

  4. Why can´t the unknow NAMEC people simply respect SADC´s decision in favor of DVB-T2? Isdb-t doesn´t work on 8mhz band, the tests failed! Even I noticed how yellow the faces of the jappanese engineers became…

    90% of the World is DVB, plus, DVB-T2 is a more advanced standard, it will boost our exports, our software creation academia, cause DVB is open. Wake up and smell the coffee! DVB-T2 ROCKS!

    Loosers (Namec and isdb-t): Stop crying! isdb-t doesn´t suit us, that´s all! Life goes on!

  5. Seriously? Namec’s website links to Mineworkers unions. Explain how they know about broadcasting standards?

    DVB-T is far superior to ISDB-T, if not why haven’t more than 2 countries adopted ISDB-T? Do they not realise how much equipment will cost when there are so few contries that will actually need it?
    *facepalm*

  6. Now we probably know why Nyanda was pushing for the ISDB-T standard.
    What was Nyanda’s connection to Namec?

  7. Would be nice to check the connections between Keith Thabo, Nyanda etc and why the standard was re looked at. Thabo says “I can’t prove it but money has definitely changed hands somewhere”. We should start with his bank acc first.

  8. Hi DVBT guys.

    You like someone that got use to meat and gets sick as soon as you smell chicken.

    Why not try it. A week to a month or two was not enough. Have you ever seen workshops with one hammer and it is been utilized for many purposes. come on guys.

    You lack vision and you killing the economy with your stereo typing. Or maybe you are a bunch that is making ready for retirement.

  9. What , arent the guys at Namec going to get their kick backs? I would also be mad then

  10. Jeez not there’s not one comment here IU don’t agree with!

    “ISDB-T, would have a more beneficial economic impact than the European offering”

    translation

    We NAMEC won’t make a buck if your chose T2 and we are too incompetent to compete.

  11. Ooops didn’t check my typing. Take 2:

    Jeez there’s not one comment here I don’t agree with!

    “ISDB-T, would have a more beneficial economic impact than the European offering”

    translation

    We NAMEC won’t make a buck if you chose T2 and we are too incompetent to compete.

  12. Namec – just another bunch of fools who don’t understand the merits of meritocracy. The communications industry and ministry has assessed the standards to determine which is the best and DVB-T2 clearly came out tops. Now they want us to put all sorts of other political gains ahead of selecting the best standard. I can understand doing this if none of them proved to be conclusively superior but as a South African I am sick of people selecting the inferior just because it meets some other political and economic gain – as with the World Cup only the best will do!

  13. “ISDB-T gives us free access to middleware that we can modify and develop for ourselves. We could end up with our own standard that can be used to generate jobs and encourage small business,” he says.

    The great thing about standards, there are so many to choose from 🙂

    Obviously this guy has no concept that standards are used to make things compatible not proprietary.

  14. Another Andrew on

    “SA’s decision in 2006 to use the European standard was a bad one to begin with, Thabo says.
    “The reason we are in this mess is because the broadcasters managed to persuade late [communications] minister Ivy Matsepe-Casaburri to use the [European] standard. I can’t prove it but money has definitely changed hands somewhere,” he says.”

    This has to be the biggest piece of chutzpah ever!

    I can’t prove it bit I can guarantee that some Reals and Yen changed hands for this “association” to bring up an issue which should be dead.

  15. Another Andrew on

    “ISDB-T gives us free access to middleware that we can modify and develop for ourselves. We could end up with our own standard that can be used to generate jobs and encourage small business,” he says.”

    Apart from the issues that Chris Roper pointed out, the idiot has failed to mention that DVB-T/ has open middleware called DVB-MHG. In addition DVB can use ISO-standardised MHEG-5.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Multimedia_Home_Platform
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MHEG-5

  16. DVB-T2 dives us free access to middleware and will generate more jobs and encourage small business, with the advantage of 90% of the world being DVB.

    ISDB-T doesn´t work at 8mhz and because only adopted in a few countries, it is expensive and socialy negative.

    Why isolate ourseves with Latin America when we can trade with the rest of the world?

    Australia, India, northern africa, europe, asia, even colombia are DVB nations.

    DVB-T2 is better for our exports, many countries to trade with, and above all, DVB-T2 is a newer technology with double chanell capacity compared to old isdb-t, plus, DVB-T2´s signal is more robust, but above all, DVB-T2 is the ONLY STANDARD THAT REALLY WOKS AT OUR 8MHZ BAND, do to SOWETO and see the successful field test being done.

    South Africa has much more to gain with DVB-T2! That´s why SADC experts indicated DVB-T2! Game over, congrats for the best, which is DVB-T2!

    http://www.sadiba.co.za

  17. ISDB-T old technology, will give us lots of problems, just because someone higher or with some money wants to make more quick money and wait for it not to work properly, then puulout. Just like the trafic light fiasco. Someone got big bucks for some simple device installed at trafic lights and called it high tech. now 400 robots are not working because the devices are being stolen. All that knew these things are being installed should be investigated. How could the people that approved these simple upgrades , not asked for a better product or security. (ook maar dom ne) There are so many ways to secure these, just think of fiddle proof sim cards ( it disintergrates when tempered with, different shape or size sim cards, to mention only two of many options) Now it suddenly cost R22,000.00 to fix one trafic light. Can’t they go back to the old system, whereby the public phone in when a light is not working, they will then also save on the cost of calls and the old lights won’t cost R22,000.00 to fix.
    Now they want to do the same with ISDB-T, 1,2,3 someone will find corrupt ways, then who will they start blaming as is always the case. These guys must catch a WAKEUP.

  18. What happened to the test results that Sentech carried out?Why were they not published?
    Having attended the latest trade shows in Europe there is no doubt that DVB-T2 is superior ,having won an award for most innovative technology.
    All test equipment that we use in the trade is DVB compliant.Who will refund my considerable investment to purchase new test equipment if they utilize ISDB-T?

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