Strict security for SA’s digital TV decoders

Strict security features will be installed in set-top boxes that will enable South Africans to switch from analogue to digital broadcasting, Communications Minister Ivy Matsepe-Casaburri said in Johannesburg on Monday.

She said the features will ensure that the boxes will not work outside South African borders and can also be disabled when stolen.

A tough means test will be put in place to determine which households are to receive the government’s 70% subsidy for the boxes. The estimated cost of a box is R700.

”The deputy president will launch an anti-poverty scheme which will determine households that depend on social grants,” said the minister.

The Cabinet approved the broadcasting digital migration policy for South Africa last week, which determines the framework for changing broadcasting from the existing analogue to a digital signal.

Pirated boxes will also not work, as they will not match the network, the minister said.

Matsepe-Casaburri said it was initially estimated that the boxes would cost R400, but after special features were added this rose to R700.

The set-top boxes will be manufactured locally, as part of building an advanced electronics manufacturing industry.

All television viewers without satellite dishes will need the signal boxes to receive the digital signal, which will be switched on at the beginning of November this year. The analogue signal will be switched off in November 2011.

She said this policy is in line with the International Telecommunication Union’s policy that all countries in Europe, Africa and the Middle East should migrate from analogue to digital broadcasting by 2015. — Sapa

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