Are you ready for Digital TV in South Africa?

Do you have a TV that can receive digital TV signals?

The United Nations' International Telecommunications Union (ITU, of which SA is a member) has set an international deadline of 17 June 2015 for the switch from analogue to digital signal distribution.

South Africa will switch off it's old analogue TV transmissions well before this date, on 1st November 2011. As at that time, your old TV set will no longer receive any signals off air.

So how do you know that the TV or home theatre system you are buying now is still going to work when the TV transmissions are switched to digital?

It seems that manufacturers are using the terms HDTV (High Definition TV) and digital TV interchangeably. So when you intend to go out and buy a digital ready TV or DVD player or Home theatre system, this is what you should be looking for:

The TV should have a DTV built in digital tuner, or have the abbreviation DVB-T or HDMI. It does not have to be a HDTV set, as long as it has a digital tuner built in. There will also be set-top boxes going on sale that will convert the incoming digital signal to an analogue signal so that it will work with your old analogue TV set. If it says it's digital-ready it probably isn't.

Your antenna will probably remain the same, unless the broadcaster changes the transmitter frequency drastically. This is possible, but they will let you know if they do, by announcements appearing on each TV channel - so pay attention if you see these announcements. If you have one of those flat "braai grid" antennas, you probably won't have to change it.

If you are currently watching satellite TV, then things should carry on as usual, and you won't have to change anything  -  the changes are for terrestrial TV  (DVB-T)  and for things like TV on your cellphone (DVB-H), etc.



Last update: 19-03-2008



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