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eTV loses DTT bid against communications dept

eTV had argued that government should encrypt signals as that would allow it to roll out better services.

FILE: The communications department says it doesn’t have to use the encryption. Picture: Flickr.

JOHANNESBURG - The Communications Ministry says it's won the case brought against it by eTV over whether the set top boxes to be rolled out as part of the migration to Digital Terrestrial Television (DTT) should be able to decrypt broadcasts.

eTV had argued that government should encrypt signals as that would allow it to roll out better services and to broadcaster higher quality content.

The ministry first said it would encrypt signals, then promised to obey an earlier court order on the issue, and then said it would not allow the boxes to decrypt signals.

Tech-central editor Duncan McLeod said, "It sounds like a big blow for eTV. They have been fighting this cause for a long time. Government has flip-flops on the issue."

The DTT migration project has been delayed by several years, and a United Nations deadline to implement the new system runs out next month.

However the Communications Department says it doesn't have to use the encryption and that it believes it will be easier for new channels to start under its system.