On the 6th of August 2008 cabinet approved the digital migration policy which will see the implementation of terrestrial digital broadcast of our existing analogue broadcasts. The proposed time frame is switch on digital on 1st Nov 2008 and switch off Analogue on 1 Nov 2011 which effectively gives a 3 year period of dual illumination. Broadcasting Digital Migration (BDM) is the process of converting the broadcast of television broadcasting signals from analogue to digital technology. The migration is made necessary by the developments in telecommunications technologies which enable a more efficient use of radio frequency spectrum as well as better quality pictures and sound.
A set top box or TV capable of Digital reception will be required to decode these digital signals and in the case of the STB (set top box) is expected to cost around R700. The STB’s will be able to browse review upcoming programme information via remote control. Government is also hoping to add interactive services such as access to government information and submission of official forms via a return path (details not yet available)
The manufacture of these boxes will be a welcome boost for the local electronics industry which will need to manufacture several million over the next few years.
Which brings us to the big question “Do I need to replace my TV?”, and the answer is no! The set top box will translate the digital broadcast into signals your existing TV will be able to reproduce.