Broadcasting Digital Migration
The Department amended the initial Digital Migration Policy which sets the parameters of migrating the country’s broadcasting from analogue to digital and meeting the ITU resolutions. Following the amendments to the Digital Migration Policy, in March 2012, Cabinet approved the Scheme for Ownership Support (SOS) of Set Top Boxes (STBs) as well as the STB Manufacturing Sector Development Strategy.
As part of the implementation of the Broadcasting Digital Migration Policy, the Department will in the 2013/14 financial year focus on, amongst others, increasing national digital coverage, rolling out the Scheme for Ownership Support (SOS), implementing the STB Manufacturing Sector Development Strategy as well as ensure digital migration awareness and provision of technical user support through the establishment of a National BDM Call Centre.
Go Digital South Africa!
The broadcasting environment is going through an amazing change due to the development of digital technology. The Go DIGITAL South Africa leaflet has been developed by the Department of Telecommunications & Postal Services as a means to educate, inform and create awareness about the digital migration or Digital Terrestrial Television (DTT).
The Go DIGITAL South Africa is a catch phrase for digital migration processing South Africa. As you may well know, the Television has been in South Africa from 1976. When it started, it was black and white, then evolved to colour television. Due to apartheid, white people owned televisions more than any race in the country. After 1994, the country put in place legislation that ensured broadcasting services that reflected/ represented all South Africans despite of their race or economical status.
Today, 11 million households in South Africa own televisions with programmes in their own languages. The government continues to ensure universal service and access by providing broadcasting services through digital migration process that promises to enhance diversity and access especially for the previously marginalised.
The Benefits of Digital Migration or DTT:
What is Digital Migration?
The digital migration can be defined by two concepts: the switch or migration from analogue and digital signals.
Prior to the 1990s, broadcasting transmitted sound and video through airwaves by analogue signals.
As much as this method worked well, unfortunately it needed a lot of space on the frequency spectrum. Both television and radio are allocated valuable spectrum in each band. This means a different and unique frequency is allocated for each radio and TV service. Clearly a very spectrum inefficient method of delivering multi channels services.
TV or radio channels are allocated frequencies depending on the geographical location.
Digital: Post 1990s, the new dawn of digital broadcasting, where sound, video, text and still images can be transmitted in the form of binary digits i.e. ones and zeros. This technology allows for information to be compressed thus saving radio spectrum. Digital Terrestrial TV (DTT) is like Digital satellite, but DTT uses ground based (terrestrial) digital transmitters to distribute the signals to your home.
Due to the benefits of digital transmissions, soon to be launched in South Africa, we all benefit.
Having explained the two concepts (analogue and digital) above, digital migration is a process of moving from the analogue to the digital broadcasting for TV and radio. South Africa will only start with television and only later will consider digital radio.
TV programs can be distributed to the home user by terrestrial, satellite and cable transmissions. In SA we use digital satellite and soon digital terrestrial. Cable delivery is now via Internet Protocol (IP TV–internet) but this is very limited due to bandwidth access and constraints currently.
Definition of Terrestrial and Satellite TV: