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March 2021 1st edition

South Africa goes digital

Written by Ursula Graaff
Broadcasters, network operators and TV viewers will benefit from South Africa’s move from analogue to digital TV.

The process of moving from analogue to digital is known as digital migration, introduced by government to better communicate their message to all South Africans.

Analogue TV was first introduced to South Africa many years ago when the first TVs were made. A digital TV, however, is the modern TV set.

All South Africans will access digital TV through set-top boxes (STBs), which will be connected to an analogue TV to run digital streaming.

One of the advantages of digital TV is that more channels would be available at a cheaper price. It also makes for better broadcasting, picture quality and TV reception.

With digital TV the SABC aims to have channels set for specific genres. For example, a health channel that will only have health topics or an education channel that will only have educational programmes.

Government will provide free STBs to over five million disadvantaged TV-owning households. The bulk or 1.2 million will be distubuted in Gautheng , followed by KZN and Limpopo. STBs will allow all South Africans to transfer from analogue TV to digital TV.

Each STB is uniquely made for South African broadcasting and will have a unique code that will block it from being used across the borders of South Africa.

Households with decoders for Top TV and DStv need not buy an STB.

The South African Post Office will be responsible for delivering the STBs while the South African Social Security Agency and Statistics South Africa will approve those who qualify for a free STB.

Each STB comes with a guarantee from the manufacturer. If it is damaged before the expiry date of the guarantee, the manufacturer is expected to fix it.

All manufacturers who have passed the South African Bureau of Standards (SABS) quality assurance tests will be able to manufacture approved STBs. Manufacturers who are not recognised by the SABS will not be allowed to manufacture STBs.

All STBs will display a sticker showing that they were manufactured in South Africa.

For more information on digital migration visit: www.doc.gov.za