Digital migration: Around 5 million set-top boxes in production

SEPTEMBER 14, 2015

Government may have missed its deadline for migration from analogue to digital in June this year, but it says efforts are underway to still realise the goal with around five million set-top boxes (STBs) in production. These will be distributed to poorer households when the switch eventually happens.

Digital Terrestrial Television (DTT) programme manager, Dr Fhatuwani Mutuvhi, speaking at a DTT community outreach programme and Imbizo in Thabazimbi, Limpopo led by Communications Minister Faith Muthambi on Saturday, said the process was underway following the appointment of manufacturers by the Universal Service and Access Agency of South Africa (USAASA).

“The South African Post Office will start with the registration process of poor tv-owning households in the Northern Cape next month in October and this will be followed by the registration in the border-lying areas across the country including Skelpadnest in Thabazimbi,” said Mutuvhi.

Digital migration refers to the switch from an analogue broadcasting system to a digital broadcasting system.

In order to view digital television signals on an ordinary analogue television set, consumers will need a STB. The purpose of the STBs is to convert the digital signal for reception on an ordinary analogue television set.

If consumers have not acquired a set-top box by the time the country switches to digital broadcasting, they will no longer be able to view the existing terrestrial television broadcasting services.

The Minister visited the area to raise awareness about the DTT programme.

Upon her arrival at the settlement which situated in a mining area, Minister Muthambi embarked on a door-to-door visit to assess service delivery.

Community members said they were excited about her visit but raised pressing issues regarding the delivery of services such as electricity, water and sanitation, roads and housing.

Residents use paraffin stoves to cook and use solar power and generators to watch tv because there is no electricity in the village.

Minister Muthambi told residents she would escalate their service delivery grievances to the relevant government departments.

---additional reporting