What is digital terrestrial television?

July 4, 2018
What is digital terrestrial
• DTT stands for Digital Terrestrial Television or Digital Terrestrial Transmission. It refers to the broadcasting of terrestrial television in a digital format. Currently, terrestrial broadcasting in South Africa is broadcast in an analogue format. The country is in the process of planning and implementing migration from analogue to digital broadcasting.

2 What is the difference between terrestrial television 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. The broadcast signal is sent to the various towers and if you are within the area covered by a tower, then you will be able to receive the broadcast services via a terrestrial aerial which is usually placed on your roof or on your television set (depending on how strong the signal that you are receiving is).
• Satellite television broadcasts uses a satellite in space. The broadcast signal is sent to the satellite and you receive a signal via a satellite dish. A single satellite usually covers a large area (for example the PAS 10 satellite covers the whole of Africa).

3 What is the difference between analogue TV and digital TV?
• In analogue TV, one channel (such as SABC 1) uses a dedicated frequency to broadcast. This is because of the large amount of bandwidth the analogue signal requires.
• In digital, however, the signals can be compressed. This will therefore allow for more channels to be broadcast in the same bandwidth as one current analogue channel uses.
• The digital era will release valuable Radio Frequency (RF) spectrum (bandwidth) which can be used for other services, that is, making more efficient use of the spectrum available for more telecommunications and broadcasting services.

4 Why are we migrating from analogue to digital?
• In 2006, the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) resolved that all countries in Europe, Africa, Middle East and Islamic Republic of Iran (region one) should migrate from analogue to digital broadcast services by June 2015. South Africa is one of the signatories of the treaty.
• South Africa also co-ordinates its frequency plans with other countries to ensure that there is no interference between various countries. Currently analogue broadcasting is protected from interference, but this protection ceased in June 2015.

5. Has this been done elsewhere around the world?
• Yes: Examples of countries that are advanced in their migration process include United Kingdom, New Zealand, Sweden, United States, France, Namibia, Tanzania, Mauritius and Kenya. All countries around the world will do the migration to DTT to ensure ongoing co-ordination and protection from interference.

6. What do I need to get DTT?
• You need an Set Top Box (STB), this will depend on the type of access in your area whether its DTT or DTH. This information will be made available in due course.

7. What is a STB?
• A STB is a device that will decode the digital signal to enable the channels to be displayed on your television set. This STB will plug into your TV set. It is also referred to as a decoder.

8. Why do I need a STB?
• Although you will be able to receive the signal through your aerial, without the STB you will be unable to display the digital services on your television set. The STB decodes the digital signal received via a standard aerial antenna and supplies the TV set with a video signal.

9. Where can the STB be purchased?
• The STB will be available for purchase at most major retail outlets in the country.

10. What should I look for when buying a STB?
• All STBs will carry the SABS quality mark and the ‘GO DIGITAL’ logo to ensure conformity throughout the country.

11. If I have five operational TV sets in my possession, will I need five STB’s?
• Yes; however only If you want each TV set to individually view different channels at the same time.

12. Will I need a satellite dish to receive the digital signal?
• This will depend on the economic and geographical factors in signal distribution; the terrestrial signal will not be able to cover 100% of the population. Certain areas and regions in the country will receive the digital signal via Direct to Home (DTH) satellite transmission.

13. Will I need a new aerial to receive DTT?
• Viewers will require a wide band UHF (Ultra High Frequency) aerial to receive the DTT transmissions. The aerial currently used to receive SABC1, 2 & 3 will not work as these are VHF (Very High Frequency) aerials.

14. Will I need to pay a subscription fee every month like DSTV?
• No. The purchase of the STB is a once-off cost. There will be no monthly subscription cost to receive the Fee-to Air (FTA) services offered by SABC and other FTA broadcasters. However, as prescribed in the Broadcasting Act 4 of 1999, you will still have to continue paying your TV license.

15. Will this migration only affect SABC?
• No: The migration will affect all the South African broadcasting houses including eTV, MNet and other community and regional broadcasters as well.

16. What are the benefits of digital TV?
• With digital TV you will have access to more channels on a FTA basis. This will be in addition to the current FTA services offered. The SABC intends to make available a range of new public services, including interactive and information services as well as access to all SABC Radio Services anywhere in the country.
• A better picture and sound quality, and access to an Electronic Programme Guide (EPG) allowing you to view your TV guide on your TV screen.
• Transmission of High Definition (HD) pictures.

17. Will I need to buy a new television set to receive the digital signal?
• No. The STB is designed to receive the digital television signal and vonvert it to an analog signal that will work with your existing analog TV.

18. Will I be able to watch DTT if I only have a satellite dish?
• Yes, however the dish must be pointed at the correct satellite (Pas 20) and you will have to buy the correct DTH set top box to connect to the dish.

19. Will there be HD TV on DTT?
• Yes.

20. How does a person establish whether their TV will be compatible to the STB?
• The TV set must have audio and video inputs or a RF input (used to connect the TV aerial to) or a HDMI input.

Source: www.sabc.co.za
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