SA misses deadline to switch from analogue to digital

While missing the deadline was expected, there’s concern over the effect it will have on broadcasters.

FILE. SA has missed a deadline to switch from analogue to digital. Picture: espensorvik/Flickr

JOHANNESBURG - South Africa has officially missed the International Telecommunication Union (ITU)'s deadline to switch from analogue to digital, Digital Terrestrial Television or Digital TV (DTT).

While this had been expected due to ongoing litigation, there's been concern over the effect of the switch on broadcasters.

The Communications Department said it hopes to switch on digital commercial broadcasting towards the end of this year.

But new proposed legislation in South Africa is being contested while some neighbouring countries are also lagging behind.

Editor at TechCentral, Duncan McLeod, said people living along the country's border may experience slight disruptions.

"I think many of our neighbouring countries are behind with their project as well so I don't think the impact is going to be particularly large."

DTT was set to replace the analogue signal used to transmit free-to-air channels such as the SABC offerings, e.TV and an array of community stations.

The policy included provision for set-top boxes with a control system.

All the viewer would then need to have done was get hold of a set-top box (STB), known to many as a decoder, which would unscramble the signal sent over the airwaves and received via rooftop aerial.