DVB for S. Africa, ASO 2013

The South African Development Community (SADC) has announced that the region, which has a population of over 250 million, will adopt DVB-T2, DVB’s second generation digital terrestrial television standard. The decision to adopt DVB-T2 was taken after rigorous testing and in-depth analysis of ISDB-T, DVB-T and DVB-T2.

An Ad Hoc Committee of the SADC was tasked to undertake the necessary assessments and advise the Member States on the viability of the different technical standards with the view for the region to move towards adopting a common standard. The 15 Member States represented by the SADC are Angola, Botswana, Democratic Republic of Congo, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Seychelles, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

The Committee’s decision that SADC Member States should adopt DVB-T2 with MPEG4 compression as the recommended digital terrestrial standard for the region was announced by the Hon. Joel Kaapanda, Minister of Communications & Information Technology of the Republic of Namibia and Chairperson of SADC Committee of Ministers responsible for Information and Communication Technology, at a press conference in Lusaka, Zambia on 24 November. It was noted, however, that Member States which have already started implementing the DVB-T standard should proceed with its implementation but ultimately migrate to DVB-T2.

The Minister also announced that the Member States would switch to digital television by 31 December, 2013 well ahead of the 2015 global switchover date in order to ensure that all related challenges would be overcome in time.

Phil Laven, DVB’s Chairman, welcomed the decision saying that “This recommendation in favour of DVB-T2 will allow the SADC region to benefit from the world’s most advanced digital terrestrial TV standard. By adopting a common standard, the SADC region will achieve economies of scale, thus facilitating a successful move into digital terrestrial TV.”