TV set-top-box standards announced

2012-06-06 19:00

Cape Town - The minimum requirements for the production of television set-top-boxes (STBs) were launched at the information and communications technology indaba in Cape Town on Wednesday.

"It is one of the mile-stones that we have reached in the broadcasting digital migration process," said Minister of Communications Dina Pule in a speech prepared for delivery.

SA Bureau of Standards (SABS) chair Bahle Sibisi said the organisation's mark of approval was mandatory in the production of sets when television was first launched in the country in the 1970s.

"Almost 40 years later, the SABS continues to drive quality assurance and standards in the local broadcasting industry," he said.

Pule said the launch of the requirements, known as the standard, would help put to rest questions about whether the department would be able to implement the transition to digital television in its proposed time frame.

"My answer is that we are on track," she said.

The digital broadcasting shift is scheduled for September.

"Through this standard, we are inviting local manufacturers to be innovative, [and] within this framework, to deliver decoders that will improve the television experience of our citizens."

The Democratic Alliance previously criticised as "misguided" the decision to opt for locally manufactured STBs, claiming imported STBs were cheaper and would reduce government subsidies for the switch-over.


An estimated five million households will receive STB subsidies.

DA MP Marian Shinn said in March that the demand for STBs had a limited lifespan and thus local manufacture would not create long-term employment.

Sibisi said the SABS was building a laboratory to allow local manufacturers to test their STBs and this should be functional by October.

The SA Communications Forum congratulated Pule for including internet access in the STBs as this would help to create a more equal society.

Chairman Lucky Masilela said the step demonstrated commitment to bridging the digital divide as it would "bring the poorest of the poor into the information society".

Chief executive Loren Braithwaite Kabosha said there was still work to be done in terms of infrastructure.

"Now the next challenge... is to ensure that broadband is rolled out as swiftly as possible in rural areas, to bring greater accessibility and utilisation of the internet access to be provided on the set-top-box".

  • Kwajo.m - 2012-06-06 19:16

    Blur, blur!! In the interest of SABC.

      Nicholas.Spaggiari - 2012-06-07 04:26

      Setop boxes are old old news... They fading out in our country

      Zip - 2012-06-07 09:50

      the sabc has been useless laggards and always will be.

  • Haha - 2012-06-06 19:32

    I hope these 5 million beneficiaries of free STB's will show their TV licenses before they get it!

      boitshoko.percy - 2012-06-06 19:46

      Lets hope , bt i um wit it n hv No income.

      boitshoko.percy - 2012-06-06 19:46

      Lets hope , bt i um wit it n hv No income.

  • steven.m.armour - 2012-06-06 20:16

    I guess the subsidies will b for the previously disadvantaged,Using our Licence fees to pay for it.Boycott the SABC,they are crap anyway.

  • DuToitCoetzee - 2012-06-06 21:27

    It will be good for the country to have a wider coverage of media/being informed. Specially with internet to allow the poorest/rural areas to have excess to more different points of gathering information. Educational wise and daily news.

  • Stephen - 2012-06-07 07:57

    Another scam to rip-off the general public and to make ANC tenderpreneurs wealthy......................bottom line.

  • Henry - 2012-06-07 08:13

    Just love it. If you don't watch S.A.N.C , refuse too buy this top box nonsense,rely on DSTV. Then when tv license bum comes around,tell him too ef off with his sabc bull.Then call the cops ,"there's a trespasser who refuses to leave your property"

  • ludlowdj - 2012-06-07 11:24

    Good, not having a set top box means you cannot receive the signal and cannot be held liable for a TV license even if you have 20 analog TV's, go the route of monitors instead of HD TV's and if you have uncapped internet, there is a good variety of internet TV shows. It is well overdue that the people of this country start reducing their indebtedness to government and does what ever it can to reduce any sort of payment of any kind to government, get off the grid.

  • Francois R Nel - 2012-06-07 13:45

    mmmm I wonder if i will be subsidised. Anyway i will be cancelling my TV licence and just watch series that i want and bought, Not the "high quality" MR2 (french) that they will force down that line.

  • Park - 2012-06-07 13:51

    I am Shorn Park VP sales of IPTD Co., Ltd. in Korea. We are a IR REMOTE CONTROL EXTENDER manufacture. We are looking for a distributer in your country. Please send e-mail to if you are interested in.

  • grant.hide - 2012-06-07 16:12

    That's good, so you can actually give service to those that actually want it and charge for it and if they fail to pay, cut the digital access. None of this, u hav a broken set in the garage, pay up.

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