Progress in SA's digital TV project - TechCentral

Progress in SA’s digital TV project

Faith Muthambi

Faith Muthambi

Two months after missing the international deadline for switching from analogue to digital terrestrial television, South Africa has still not begun commercial digital broadcasts. However, the department of communications said in parliament on Tuesday that it is ready to consult with cabinet about a launch date and to place an order for up to 5m set-top boxes.

Communications minister Faith Muthambi said the various roleplayers in the digital migration project are making good progress and South Africa should soon be ready to begin the switchover process.

Cabinet will soon discuss the launch date as well as the length of the dual-illumation period, during which both analogue and digital signals will co-exist. It’s during this period that consumers are expected to get ready for the analogue switch-off by installing the equipment they need to receive terrestrial digital broadcasts.

South Africa will adopt a phased approach to analogue switch-off, the department told parliament. Border areas will be prioritised in an effort to minimise any cross-border signal interference. South Africa has already signed co-operation agreements on spectrum harmonisation with all South Africa’s neighbouring countries, with the exception of Zimbabwe.

Twenty-six manufacturers will be involved in making set-top boxes, while three have been identified to supply antennae.

Government will place orders for set-top boxes this month, with the logistics and distribution framework to be finalised shortly. The state is subsidising as many as 5m boxes for free provision into poorer households.

The department said Sentech’s digital TV signals now cover 84% of the country’s population, with the remaining 16% to be provided services using direct-to-home satellite.  — (c) 2015 NewsCentral Media

19 Comments

  1. Vusumuzi Sibiya on

    >>Communications minister Faith Muthambi said the various roleplayers in the digital migration project are making good progress and South Africa should soon be ready to begin the switchover process.

    …sure and there’ll soon be only one Faith and the rest of us named Thomas. The time for all these pointless “soon” announcements expired long ago – How about trying out “less talk” and just switching-on and placing the purchase orders.

  2. Greg Mahlknecht on

    Agreed – in fact if they just switched on now – with CA out the picture – all the shops would start pushing TVs with built in DVB-T2 tuners and by the time the government gets around to STB roll-out there’d be a big chunk of citizens that wouldn’t need them!

  3. “Twenty-six manufacturers will be involved in making set-top boxes, while three have been identified to supply antennae.”

    Three manufacturers will produce DVB-T2 rooftop antennae for areas with weaker signals. Hope it works better than the cheap indoor stuff one can already buy at flea markets.

  4. Arterial Clot on

    anybody with half a brain and having missed the deadline would certainly not let their stupid face be shown on the media, but not this retard……… it actually thinks its doing a good job… LOL!!

  5. Andrew Fraser on

    “Government will place orders for set-top boxes this month, with the logistics and distribution framework to be finalised shortly.”
    Remember these words. This month. August 2015.

    My hat is ready for eating if this happens.

  6. Was there something a while back about certain region specific compatibility issues that meant that the EPG would work only with local set top boxes and not necessarily comply with the built in tuners?

  7. Greg Mahlknecht on

    I think that might have been to do with the CA. Let’s hope so, anyway – would be awful if they were spec complaint apart from some stupid little thing like that!

  8. Greg Mahlknecht on

    It’ll be fine – most people in bad signal areas will already have VHF/UHF antennas on their roof that will work for DTT.

  9. No, cancel that massively mad, money wasting program of local STB production by ( SIC!?!?) 26 suppliers and total Gov control of STB production and distribution. Combined with that total lunacy of 5 m free STBs for the poor, and the heavy import duties for imported DVB-T2 receivers.

    ASAP.

    Happily we can rejoice that our favourite, well spoken minister is back from China after learning about how they manage the media. Read the article on Daily Maverick : “Media freedom: South African government sees how its done in China.” of 27/7/2015

  10. Vusumuzi Sibiya on

    I would really love for the subsidy plan to scrapped altogether but we’re just too far down this massive hole to see any chance of that happening;

    …the only hope as pointed out by Greg

    >>if they just switched on now – with CA out the picture – all the shops would start pushing TVs with built in DVB-T2 tuners (which include a free antenna! 🙂 ) and by the time the government gets around to STB roll-out there’d be a big chunk of citizens that wouldn’t need them!

  11. CharlieTango on

    “ready to consult with cabinet about a launch date”- Once step forward, seventeen backwards – way to go Faith.

  12. Any time I feel the slightest hint of faith in the future under Luthuli House and the Zumanauts I drag out my A4 size picture of Faith Whatsherface and it’s gone in a Horror Reality flash!
    Just like my Nkandla tax Rands actually.

  13. We can strengthen the opposition against this crazy subsidy scheme when we do an OUTA.
    Organise ourselves, get plenty of publicity and stop paying TV licenses.
    Although Wayne Duvenage & Co never managed to have e tolls scrapped, at least they made the system unworkable and a failure.

  14. Andrew Fraser on

    There are some basic EPG standards built-in to the DVB-T2 standards, any imported TV with an integrated DVB-T2 receiver will be able to access this “bare bones” EPG. At some stage over the development of the STB for South Africa, there was a decision to make an enhanced EPG using MHEG-5. To be honest, I’m not sure if that is still in the specs, but if it is, then IDTVs will likely not be able to take advantage of it (until they are produced to the same specs).

  15. Not forgetting 5m/26 means less than 200,000 SPB’s a piece. Way less than the economic quantity required to even start up production for a low cost box. Or will that be 3 manufacturers and 23 importers just adding on a mark up? Government protected job crushing enrichment scheme…

  16. Thanks for the update. Hopefully they will abandon the local flavoured add ins so that we can use standard, world wide products.

  17. Andrew Fraser on

    The standard products will work, but the EPG may be more limited. In DVB-T it was limited to ‘now showing’ and ‘next’. Not sure about DVB-T2…

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