While the world witnessed traditional platforms migrate to digital 10 years ago, the local national broadcaster is only migrating completely to digital in 2021. According to a new notice published by the South African Broadcasting Commission, customers can register to receive a free digital decoder to watch SABC and eTV free-to-air channels.
The recent push to convert all its customers to digital comes as a consequence of decommissioning all analogue channels. That means connecting to an analogue TV signal won’t suffice anymore — South African’s interested in accessing free national TV channels will need access to a new digital terrestrial TV (DTT) decoder.
The SABC’s digital option
It’ll support higher resolution broadcasting for all national broadcasts and programming, which in itself, is reason enough to register for yours as soon as possible.
But there’s a caveat (because of course there is). Only households with a combined monthly income below R3,200 or those reliant on SASSA grants will qualify for a free DTT decoder. If you don’t fall into one of these two categories, you’ll need to pay for the device. You’ll still need a functioning TV (obviously) and a TV licence to qualify.
You’ll have to bring the following along to register for your DTT decoder:
- Proof of the family’s income
- Proof of identity
- Proof of address
- A police affidavit to state that you have a working TV set
According to the report, viewers can register to get their hands on the newly announced DTT device at any local Post Office. The news was also broadcast on the SABC’s channels in the form of a banner. “The main purpose of this message is to alert the public about the impending analogue switch off and the need to change to alternative digital technologies for television viewing,” the statement reads.
While we know the Post Office doesn’t move at the fast pace expected from an increasingly digital world, the SA government expects to suspend analogue accessibility in April 2022. Viewers have ample time to register and acquire their brand new DTT devices in a year’s time, right?
After the cut-off date, local viewers will need access to either the DTT decoder from the Post Office, an OpenView satellite TV box or a set-top box to access the SABC’s programming.