SKA area first to enter digital broadcasting space

Residents in the core towns of the c (SKA) area became the first South Africans to enter the digital broadcasting space in the country. By News Agency 

This morning at exactly 7:30am, Communications Minister Faith Muthambi officially turned off the analogue television transmission, where over 3 700 households in the town of Carnarvon; Vanwyksvlei, Brandvlei, Vosburg and Williston were successfully migrated to the much-awaited digital platform.

When Minister Muthambi discontinued the analogue transmitter at the hilltop in Carnarvon, there was a sustained applause, ululations and screaming.

Beaming from ear to ear, Minister Muthambi said for the locals, the days of television screens with full of “snow” are over.

“We have moved from analogue to digital and this chapter has been closed in this area. We will be doing it in phases in all the nine provinces.

“We are witnessing a historic moment with the transmission of analogue signals for terrestrial TV being officially phased out nationwide.

“Turning off the analogue terrestrial TV transmission meant that a digitalised era of high-definition TV has come for our people in the SKA area. Indeed, analogue TV transmissions in our country is fading.”

The analogue switch off is the process in which analogue television broadcasting is converted to and replaced by digital television.

The SKA radio telescope in the Karoo is one of the biggest international research infrastructures in the world and will assist scientists all over the world to work towards answering previously insoluble questions.

The analogue sunset in the SKA area is signalling the dawn of a fully digital age in which everyone can enjoy extra choice of more channels of perfect digital reception. The world is going through a television revolution of migrating from analogue to digital broadcasting.

Digital broadcasting is far more efficient, allows better picture and sound quality and once analogue transmissions are switched off, a large amount of radio frequency spectrum will be released; which can then be used for new broadcasting and other communications services such as broadband.

Minister Muthambi said she is now looking to complete the process of migrating to the broadcasting digital system by December 2018.

Registration process of set-top boxes

Residents living in the SKA community of Keimoes and Kai Garib in the Northern Cape were the first people in South Africa to experience Digital Terrestrial Television (DTT) in the country following the unveiling of the registration process for set-top boxes (STBs) in the area on October 3, last year by Minister Muthambi.

Subsequent to this, the Minister launched the first installation of government subsidised STBs in Keimoes in December 2015. Government will be rolling-out subsidised STBs in a provincial phased approach, as it has already started in the Northern Cape and Limpopo.

More registrations are underway in the Free State, Mpumalanga and Limpopo provinces. Poor households who qualify for the government subsidy are urged to register for free STBs at their local Post Office branches.

Registrations will open in the North West, Eastern Cape, KwaZulu-Natal, Western Cape and Gauteng at a later stage. The analogue switch off forms part of the country’s Broadcasting Digital Migration (BDM) process in the country.

SENTECH

SENTECH, the state-owned broadcasting signal distributor, fulfilled its mandate by concluding its DTT infrastructure installation process of the 178 transmitter stations nationwide and a Direct-To-Home (DTH) broadcasting infrastructure to ensure 100% DTT access for South African citizens.

SENTECH’s CEO Mlamli Booi said: “It is an honour for SENTECH to be a part of this milestone event and we remain committed to ensuring connected citizens through a digital network.

“The migration from analogue to digital television presents more opportunities for broadcasters in terms of content proliferation and affords South African audiences, a wider range of higher quality television channels. The DTT platform is also an alternate revenue stream within SENTECH’s broadcasting signal distribution services”.

SENTECH was mandated to enable the DTT Contact Centre to assist the general public with technical and logistics related questions such as decoder activation process, installation troubleshooting and general DTT roll out information.

To deliver on its mandate, the DTT Contact Centre administers all inbound calls to provide South African audiences DTT support by channelling all DTT queries to the relevant digital migration stakeholders.

The DTT Contact Centre has been instrumental in ensuring an average of 99% activations within the Northern Cape’s Square Kilometre Array (SKA) areas. – SAnews.gov.za

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