Open letter to South Africa’s students‚ universities and government‚ represented by Minister in the .
Buying a television set now might be like buying a record player just before CDs took over.
South Africa is scheduled to start broadcasting digital television on November 1 and discontinue analogue broadcasts in 2011.
President Thabo Mbeki indicated this plan is on track in his state of the nation speech.
"We aim to provide digital broadcasting to 50 percent of the population by the end of the year.
"Attached to this will be a manufacturing strategy for the development in South Africa of set top boxes, which should be finalised by the middle of the year," Mbeki said.
Set top boxes are devices that enable existing analogue television sets to receive digital signals.
The government announced it would switch over to digital television broadcasting as part of its preparation for hosting the 2010 Fifa World Cup.
Just as analogue television was divided into different technologies for North America, Europe and the Far East, the globe's major trading blocks are now implementing incompatible digital terrestrial television standards.
A local technical committee opted to join the Europe and Australia camp two years ago by selecting "DVB-T".
Speakers at the third annual Digital Broadcasting Switchover Forum last month called on the government to set digital television policy.