South Africa selects MHEG-5 interactivity

South Africa – via its Digital Dzonga Advisory Council – has selected MHEG-5 as the interactive TV middleware for its digital switchover, according to IMPALA, the International MHEG Promotion Alliance.

Following on from a successful DTT trial that began last year, the SABC, South Africa’s public broadcaster, led the process of developing a MHEG-5 profile for South Africa to meet some of the unique needs of the market. The South African MHEG-5 profile has now been finalised and can be obtained from SABC, while the overall receiver specifications are also being completed. The MHEG specification includes a platform-wide EPG that will allow consistent listings and onscreen branding. The profile also includes support for the delivery of a wide range of interactive services.

The Digital Dzonga Council is an advisory body appointed by government in 2008 to oversee South Africa’s migration to digital terrestrial broadcasting. Government has taken an inclusive and transparent approach to the development and implementation of the digital migration process, and the Digital Dzonga Council includes representatives from both the public and private sectors. Council members include government (Department of Communications), consumer groups, broadcasters (SABC,, M-Net), manufacturers, the national signal distributor (Sentech) and the regulator (ICASA).

The MHEG Profile for South Africa is available at w/w/w.s/a/b/c.c/o.z/a in the press and media section.

Aldred Dreyer, SABC technical project manager, DTT, said in a statement, “We selected MHEG-5 because it is cost-effective with lower royalties than other middleware solutions and it is an open standard and not proprietary to any one vendor. In addition it uses little memory.”