/ 21 February 2008

Broadcasting switch to digital on track

Moving South African television broadcasting from analogue to digital signal is on track and ahead of most countries in the world, the Communications Department said on Thursday.

Spokesperson Albi Modise said the digital signal will be activated on November 1 this year, and the analogue signal will be switched off in November 2011 as per Cabinet’s announcement last year.

The three-year ”dual illumination” period, in which both signals will be used, will allow time for households to ensure they can receive a digital signal.

Set-top boxes will enable households to use their current television sets to receive the digital signal.

Modise said the department remains committed to President Thabo Mbeki’s announcement in his State of the Nation address that 50% of South African households will have access to digital broadcasting by the end of the year and 80% by the end of 2010.

The switch to digital signal forms part of a global phasing-out of analogue technology.

A public-awareness campaign on the digital migration process will start soon, Modise said. — Sapa