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What is DTT?

 Digital Terrestrial Television (DTT) refers to the broadcasting of terrestrial television in digital format. Terrestrial broadcasting in South Africa is currently in analogue format.  South Africa is currently planning and preparing itself to migrate from analogue to digital broadcasting. 

What is the difference between Terrestrial and Satellite television?

In analogue, one channel (e.g. SABC1) uses a dedicated frequency to broadcast. This is because of the large amount of bandwidth the analogue signal requires.
In digital, the signal is compressed, allowing for more channels to be broadcast in the same bandwidth as one current analogue channel uses.

Why the switch?

 In 2006 the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) held a Regional Radio Communication Conference (RRC-06), where it was resolved that all countries of Europe, Africa, Middle East and the Islamic Republic of Iran should migrate from analogue to digital broadcasting services by 2015.
The main reason for the migration is to release valuable spectrum which can be used for other services.  Spectrum is scarce, and it is therefore necessary to make efficient use of the spectrum available for more telecommunications and broadcasting services.

How will DTT benefit TV viewers?

DTT will offer viewers more terrestrial television channels than it currently is. The technology will help improve the picture and sound quality of broadcast programs and also give viewers access to radio and a host of other value add services.

What is the difference between Terrestrial and Satellite television?

Terrestrial television uses a network of transmission towers to relay the signal across the country.  Each transmission tower has a specific area of coverage, and it is the network of coverage that provides television signals across the country. If you are within a area covered by a tower, then you will be able to receive broadcast services from that tower.
Satellite television broadcasting uses a satellite which is in a geostationary position above the earth. The broadcasting signals are sent to the satellite and viewers receive the signal via a satellite dish.

Will I have to pay a subscription fee for DTT?

No, the purchase of a DTT set top box (STB) is a once-off cost. There will be no subscription fee to receive the free-to-air services including SABC TV and radio services. However, viewers will still have to continue paying their TV licenses.

How will viewers/listeners receive DTT broadcasts?

Viewers will have to purchase a DTT set top box (STB) in order to receive and decode the signals for display on the TV set. Some viewers may require new TV aerials or adjust their existing aerials for reception.

Do I need a special TV set to work with the DTT set top box?

No, there is no need to purchase a new TV set, as the STB will decode the digital signal, and convert it to a signal that is compatible with your existing TV set.

If I have three TV sets in my house, will I need three set top boxes?

Yes, if you want each TV set to individually view different channels then each set would need its own STB. Should you want to watch different programmes on multiple Tv's in your house, each individual  Tv will have to be connected to its own set top box.
You will be able to record programmes should PVR (Personal Video Recorder) equipped set top boxes be manufactured by manufacturers and made available via the retail market. Currently the minimum SABS specification does not enforce a PVR equipped set top box in the specification.

How is the DTT set top box installed?

The STB is a plug-and-play device which is relatively easy to connect using the supplied manual.  Assistance from professional installers may be sought if needed.

Where can I get the DTT set top box?

DTT STBs will be available for purchase at retail outlets nationwide.  Details will be made available through the press.

When will we start receiving DTT services?

The digital network will be rolled out over a period of two years. It is anticipated that the service rollout to the public will begin towards the end of 2012. Tests and trials of the technology, services and infrastructure are currently underway in preparation of the launch to the public.

DTT MHEG - 5 profile for South Africa [Click here]

DTT User Requirement Specification - MHEG Navigator [Click here]

DTT User Interface Specification - [Click here]


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