FAQ - Digital Migration
South Africa has embarked on a process of migrating its broadcasting services from analogue to digital. This is known as Broadcasting Digital Migration. The main focus of the migration process is Digital Terrestrial Television (DTT).
DTT stands for Digital Terrestrial Television (or digital terrestrial transmission). It refers to the terrestrial broadcasting of television in a digital format. Currently terrestrial television in South Africa is broadcast in an analogue format. The country is in the process of planning and implementing migration from analogue to digital broadcasting.
In analogue, the signal is transmitted in the form of electromagnetic waves. This is not the most efficient way of transmitting TV signals. In digital, the signal is encoded and can be compressed – this will therefore allow for more channels to be broadcast. A minimum of 8 new video channels can be provided in the same frequency as one analogue channel.
No, you will not need a satellite dish to receive DTT. The satellite signal is not the same as the terrestrial signal which is received using a terrestrial TV aerial.
Some viewers may need new aerials, or may need to upgrade existing aerials. In some instances aerials may have to be adjusted. At this stage it is unclear who will be affected by such adjustments, but the majority of viewers will not require any changes to their aerial installations.
You will need to have a DTT Set-Top Box (also referred to as a decoder). This DTT Set-Top Box is not the same as the Multichoice satellite decoder or the current MNet decoder.
The Set-Top Box is a receiver that will decode the digital signal to enable the channels to be displayed on your analogue television set. This Set-Top Box will plug into your TV set.
You need a device that decodes the digital signal received via a standard aerial antenna and supplies the TV set with a video signal. Without the Set-Top Box you will be unable to view the digital television services on your television set.
With the level of functionality proposed by the Department of Communications, it is estimated that the retail cost of the free-to-air Set-Top Box is in the region of R400-R700.
DStv is a satellite service. The satellite signal is different from the DTT signal and the two systems are not compatible. DStv subscribers will continue to receive the existing and some future free-to-air channels. However, if you wish to receive all the DTT free-to-air services you will have to purchase a DTT Set-Top Box.
Set-Top Boxes aren’t available for sale to the public yet. They will most likely be available in early 2010. Watch the press for details!
The Set-Top Box can be installed by a professional installer or one can connect the cable from the TV aerial to the Set-Top Box (normally RF IN at the back) and then follow the Set-Top Box installation menu using the supplied manual.
YES, if you want each individual TV set to view a different channel. Other models of Set-Top Boxes with functionality that allows you to connect more than one TV to a single Set-Top Box may be developed and made available at a later stage. This STB will however be more expensive.
NO, the SABC and eTV will continue to be available for free. However, you will still have to continue paying your TV license. You will also need to pay a monthly subscription fee if you choose to subscribe to M-Net.
NO, most current analogue television sets will be able to receive DTT. The main consideration is that your TV must have an A/V input to ensure your Set-Top-Box can be plugged into your TV. If you have this, you should be able to use your current TV set. You do not need a high definition (HF) TV, LCD TV or Plasma TV to receive DTT.
In the next few years, there could also be TVs with an integrated Set-Top Box (that means a Set-Top Box already built in with the TV). These are usually called idTVs. However, these are not likely to be available in SA for a long time.
The TV set must have audio and video inputs or alternatively must have RF input.
It is anticipated that the service will be available to the public towards early 2010. However, there are a number of areas that still need to be resolved before the service is available to the public. This includes testing of the service to ensure that everything works as it should before consumers spend money on purchasing Set-Top Boxes. It is also important to note that the digital network will be rolled out over a period of three years. Therefore, you will need to check when the digital signal will be available in your specific area. Information will be made available on exact areas of coverage and when these will be covered closer to the time of the public launch of the service.
In August 2008 Government announced its plans to establish a subsidy or incentive scheme to assist households that cannot afford a Set-Top Box. It is anticipated that approximately 5-million South African households will need the subsidy/incentive. More information will be available later in the year about how to access the subsidy and how government will monitor and control the process.