The Department of Communications is working with broadcasters such as e.tv, the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC), MultiChoice and Star Sat to educate the public about digital migration in the Free State.
The initiative follows Communications Minister Nomvula Mokonyane’s announcement last month that the Broadcasting Digital Migration Project Management Office has until the end of the year to complete the migration process from analogue to digital in the Free State Province.
“We have adopted an inclusive approach to partner with local television manufacturers and the broadcasters to educate the public about the digital migration project and the options available to consumers, especially television viewing households that do not qualify for the government-subsidized set-top-boxes,” said Broadcasting Digital Migration Project Office Executive Director Aldred Dreyer.
The department has encouraged analogue television-viewing households who are looking to buy new television sets to buy the one that comes with an integrated digital tuner.
“People who do not qualify for fully-subsidised government set-top-boxes – in other words, those who earn above the stipulated threshold of R3200 per month – have an option of buying a new integrated digital television (IDTV) set with the DTT decoder built in.
“The local television manufacturers have made these IDTV available through major retail outlets across the country,” Dreyer said.
The department is also working on a plan to ensure that Direct-to-Home satellite devices are available at retail stores for the non-subsided market.
Households that are on pay-television platforms are already consuming digital television services and therefore do not need to migrate.
In the coming days the department will amplify messaging on broadcasting digital migration on all platforms to educate the public about what they need to migrate from analogue to digital.
“Our task is to ensure that the remaining analogue television viewing households migrate to digital platforms. I am confident that come year-end, the Free State will be completed, then we can move to another province,” Dreyer said.
The department has also enlisted the support of provincial and local governments to encourage qualifying indigent households to register for these government-subsidised decoders.
Additionally, the department is working with the South African Post Office to reach communities and to distribute the subsidised television decoders to qualifying households.
“Representatives from the local television manufacturing sector will be in the Free State to add their support to the project,” said Dreyer.