Subsidised STBs deadline set in South Africa

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The South African government’s communications department has set a deadline of March 31 for registration to receive subsidised digital-terrestrial set-top boxes in the North West and Free State provinces. Qualifying households can register at their nearest Post Office. Communications department officials are currently taking registrations and supervising installations of decoders in the two provinces.

The South African government has committed to switching off analogue TV in June next year, following a long and difficult digital transition process that has seen multiple delays.
Digital switchover was finally initiated in the Northern Cape region at the end of 2016, after a year of dual-illumination of digital and analogue signals. The process had been plagued by multiple controversies including a battle between the government and commercial broadcaster E.tv over whether signals should be encrypted. The commercial broadcaster wanted to ensure that signals, particularly HDTV signals, were encrypted, which was opposed by the government and other broadcasters.

The country’s Constitutional Court ruled in June last year that government-subsidised set-top boxes should not be encrypted.

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