Last we heard, South Africa’s plans for switching from analogue to digital TV were in a state of confusion again, because e.TV had won an legal appeal over the technology to be used. That hasn’t stopped the Department of Communications from pushing on regardless, however, as it’s reported that delivery of digital TV services and (DTT) and set top boxes (STBs) in the Northern Cape is “on track”.

The target for the province is over 25 000 underprivileged households an income of less R3 200 a month, with or without a valid TV licence.

Six households in the Keimoes and Kakamas areas in the Northern Cape were the first to receive STBS last December.

The department’s chief director of technology for digital migration projects, Wonder Dlangamandla, said that the uptake of digital STBs in the area is an important step towards clearing the analogue transmissions in the region in order to pave the way for the successful operation of the Square Kilometre Array (SKA) project. Analogue television transmissions produce more harmful interference to the radio telescope operations.

STBs will broadcast free-to-air TV broadcasts from all public service channels, including the 24-hour SABC 404 channel.

“It is important to note that the digital television signal is available all over the country in South Africa. Suitable STBs or decoders complying with the compulsory South African Bureau of Standards (SABS) SANS862 specification and the international DVB-T2 technical standard can immediately access the South African Digital Terrestrial Television (DTT) services nationwide,.” Dlangamandla said.

“Furthermore, some of the latest flat screen television sets from most leading manufacturers already incorporate a digital tuner conforming to DVB-T2 and SABS specifications and can readily receive digital signals without the need of an additional STB,” he added.

Those who don’t fall within the criteria for a subsidised STB from government will be able to purchase one from yet-to-be-finalised select retailers.

[Source – SA Government News Agency,  image –  CC Mark Turnauckas]