3. What is the difference between digital
terrestrial television (DTT) and satellite television?
4. What is digital terrestrial television
These are simply different ways of broadcasting a signal.
Satellite television broadcasts from a satellite
in space from which you receive via a satellite
dish that is mounted to your house.
Digital Terrestrial Television uses transmitters on the
ground to broadcast the signal which you then receive
using a TV aerial and set top box.
Digital Terrestrial Television refers to the use
of a network of TV transmission towers on earth as opposed to satellites in space to broadcast
digital as opposed to analogue signals.
SABC, e.tv and M-Net are analogue signals broadcast terrestrially. DSTV and Top TV are digital signals broadcast from satellite.
5. When people talk about “
digital migration” or “digital switchover”
– what do they mean?
This is the process of moving from an analogue
to a digital TV broadcast.
6. Why do we need to change from analogue to digital TV?
In keeping with other countries and advancing technological developments
the government has decided to migrate
from analogue TV to digital.
The benefits of digital TV broadcasting include:
- Excellent picture quality
- Clearer sound
- More channels
- A digital TV guide which can be easily updated
for more accurate schedules.
- Interactive services like games or the Weather channel.
- Picture quality which does not deteriorate with a weaker TV aerial signal.
Your TV picture will either be perfect or you will have no picture at all. No more snowy pictures.
- Allows transmission of high definition (HD 1080) TV pictures
7. What equipment do I need to watch DTT
When South Africa goes digital, everyone currently using a TV aerial will need a decoder (also called a set top
box or STB) which will decode the digital signal.
Without a STB (similar to M-Net decoder), your TV won’t
be able to display the digital television picture.
8. Does that mean I need a new M-Net decoder?
Yes – your current M-Net decoder is an analogue
decoder and will have to be replaced with a
9. What is an integrated digital television ?
In the next few years it may be possible to
buy a TV with a decoder built into the TV. These
are called integrated digital televisions because
the decoder is integrated. These are
not yet available in South Africa.
10. Will I need a new TV aerial?
Probably not. Some viewers may need
new TV aerials and in some instances TV aerials may only need to be
Whether or not you need a new TV aerial or an adjustment to your existing TV aerial
will depend how good the DTT signal is in your area.
11. Will I need three STB's: One for SABC, one for e.tv and one for M-Net ?
No, only one - Your STB will be able to receive digital channels
from all licensed South African broadcasters.
Even if you unsubscribe from M-Net, your STB
will still receive digital channels
from SABC and e.tv.
12. When is digital TV starting?
Field trials for DTT started in November 2008.
The SABC and e.tv tested free-to-air digital
transmissions while M-Net tested PayTV digital transmissions
on a selected group of viewers. Further tests will now take place in the new DVB-T2 format.
Watch the media for announcements on when digital
TV starts for the general public.
13. Why is digital switchover taking so long?
Government announced in 2008 that we would be using the DVB-T format for our digital terrestrial television.
In 2010 government called for a review to consider the ISDB-T format. This, despite two previous reviews
in a consultation process that began in 2000 and investment of R250 million by independant broadcasters in the
DVB-T system. Finally (we hope) in January 2011 the minister of communications announced the decision to use the DVB-T2 format.
14. When will the set tob box be available for purchase?
Set top boxes for the DVB-T2 format of DTT are already available in England. They will be on sale in South Africa as soon as DTT
is broadcast to the general public. Watch the media for an official announcement.
15. When will it affect me?
December 2013 was the date set by government to discontinue analogue broadcasts, but arguments about using a set top box which can cut off a user's signal if he doesn't pay his Tv license have delayed this. The International Telecommunication Union (I.T.U.) have set June 2015 as the date beyond which analogue TV broadcasts will not be protected from interference. Whether our government has the ability to meet this deadline remains to be seen.
16. If I’m a DSTV or TopTV subscriber, what
do I need to do?
Nothing.The changeover to DTT only affects broadcasts received on a TV aerial.
DSTV and TopTV received on a satellite dish are already in digital format.
17. Will I be able to watch DTT if I only have a satellite dish?
No, will you will need to have a TV aerial installed and a STB connected to your DSTV system if you also want to watch DTT programs.
18. If I have three TV sets in the house,
will I need three STB's?
Only if you want each TV set to show different
channels at the same time, otherwise one STB will be able to display the same program on multiple
TV's provided your TV aerial wiring is correct.
19. Do I need a high definition TV for this switchover to DTT?
HD television is not required to watch digital broadcasts, but if the programme content was recorded
in High Definition the user of HD Television will see improved clarity and detail which was never possible on
20. What do I do if my set top box does not provide a good quality TV picture?
This could be caused by a faulty TV aerial or TV wiring or signal reception problems such as multipath error.
Call us on 012-664 5223 to correctly install your STB or adjust your TV aerial or supply a new
TV aerial installation in Pretoria or Centurion.