Minister announces digital TV standard for SA

South Africa would adopt the digital TV standard DVB-T2 and the country would complete the process of migrating from analogue to digital TV by December 2012, Communications Minister Roy Padayachie said in Midrand today.

The decision ends weeks of speculation which digital standard the country would adopt for broadcasting.

Under consideration were ISDB (integrated services digital broadcasting) and ISDB-T, supported by Brazil and Japan, and the two DVB (digital video broadcasting) terrestrial standards, DVB-T and its successor, DVB-T2.

Initially, the government had accepted DVB, but now the country would adopt DVB-T2.

Padayachie said the government had looked at representations from the Brazilian government.

Twelve of the 14 Southern African Development Community countries had accepted DVB, the main digital standard in Africa, Europe and the Middle East.

At a 2006 conference in Geneva, Switzerland, where the ITU (international telecommunications union) Region 1 Geneva ITU GE06 Agreement was signed, a 2015 deadline for the migration from analogue to digital TV was set.

Padayachie said the decision had been taken by the government and not by his department alone.

He hoped the decision would lead to more opportunities in manufacturing in the industry.

“We think this is an important arena that will make an important contribution in that arena.”

There was no indication how much the rollout of the DVB-T2 standard would cost.

“There will be a cost, but the benefits will outweigh the cost,” said Padayachie, who wouldn’t commit to saying how much new decoders would cost.

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