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Will your old analogue TV still work after March 2022 digital switchover?

22 October 2021 11:52 AM
Tags:
Analogue TV
Tv

Lester Kiewit speaks to TechCentral Editor Duncan McCloud who explains.
  • If you currently use a bunny aerial or antenna aerial on your roof, your TV set will not work after the March 2022 switch over from analogue unless it has an in-built digital tuner, or you install a set-top box
  • The estimated 4 million TV sets in South Africa currently receiving analogue signal will no longer receive signal unless this is undertaken
  • Most TV sets can be converted with either the built-in tuner or adding a set-top box explains tech guru
  • Qualifying households must get to a Post Office branch to receive their free Go Digital set-top box by the end of October 2021 - or face a wait of six months after the switchover to recive one

Photo by KoolShooters from Pexels

South Africa is in the midst of the big switch! We're changing to alternative digital technologies for television viewing.

The digital migration process is already underway to switch off analogue terrestrial television transmitters. Earlier this year, the process started in the Free State. This transition needs to be completed by the end of March 2022, to meet the deadline communicated by President Cyril Ramaphosa in a previous state of the nation address.

Certain households with an income below R3,200 a month can register for a free go digital decoder from the post office.

Tech Central editor Duncan McLeod speaks to Lester to answer our questions.

Which TV sets will no longer work after the switch?

McCloud says it is estimated that there are still up to 4 million TV sets in the country that only receive analogue signal.

That would be people who have bunny aerials on top of their TV or they have an antenna on their roof that is picking up analogue signal and picking up channels like SABC 1, 2 and 3, and eTV.

Duncan McCloud, Founder and Editor - Techcentral

If you are using antenna TV sets you will need to upgrade and get a set-top box and a new TV, he says.

If you have got DStv or the free-to-air Open View box from e-Media and you consume your content via a satellite dish, then you've got no problems. You are already digital and you are going to continue to receive those services.

Duncan McCloud, Founder and Editor - Techcentral

In summary, households that currently receive an analogue signal will have to obtain a set-top box that converts the digital signal to an analogue one or buy a new TV set that supports the digital signal.

Why is the old analogue TV signal being switched off?

It is all about the spectrum.

That's what this is all about. It's not about the broadcasters. It's about freeing up the spectrum that the broadcasters are using because analogue broadcasters are very inefficient in their use of the radiofrequency spectrum.

Duncan McCloud, Founder and Editor - Techcentral

By moving to digital they will make much more efficient use of those bands and more spectrum bands will be freed up and reallocated to telecommunications.

Duncan McCloud, Founder and Editor - Techcentral

He says this is happening globally and South Africa is very far behind in its migration process.

Many countries around the world completed their analogue switch off years ago.

Duncan McCloud, Founder and Editor - Techcentral

South Africa was meant to have completed this process by mid-2015, he notes, but failed to meet that deadline.

There is enormous demand and pressure from consumers on mobile networks for more data services, he adds.

Will an old-style TV be compatible with the decoders?

Most TVs can be converted. If you want to be able to watch TV after digital switchover you will need to have a TV with a built -in digital tuner, or you will need to attach a set-top box to your existing television.

If you want to stay on a terrestrial television set, you are going to need to check if your TV has a built-in digital tuner as many modern TV sets do.

Duncan McCloud, Founder and Editor - Techcentral

Government has stated for many years that it plans to assist indigent households who cannot afford to buy a set-top box, says McCloud.

There is a programme that has turned into a bit of a mess, to make these set-top boxes available to poorer households.

Duncan McCloud, Founder and Editor - Techcentral

There are about 800,000 of these boxes left to be distributed and the government has said it's not going to make any more of these boxes which have caused some consternation among the broadcasters.

Duncan McCloud, Founder and Editor - Techcentral

These boxes have been sitting in Post Office warehouses for a number of years adds McCloud.

The government has said please if you want to get one of these subsidised set-top boxes in your home and you qualify, then please visit a Post Office before the end of this month (October) and you will be guaranteed to get one. before analogue switch off happens which they have pencilled in for the end of January.

Duncan McCloud, Founder and Editor - Techcentral

If qualifying households do not go and receive a box by the end of October they will have to wait for six months after the switchover to do so, reports McCloud.




22 October 2021 11:52 AM
Tags:
Analogue TV
Tv

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