The new Digital Television Transmission TV set box looks modest but it will revolutionise how we watch television.
After testing one recently, I can say the set box does improve TV quality and adds more channels
DTT is the switching from analogue to digital, a new technology initiated by the government to get South Africans to switch to digital by 2011. The box set is connected and set on top of a TV set.
Various manufacturers have been conducting trial runs in Pretoria, Johannesburg and Durban since last year, testing the technical site of the box set.
The trial ended last month and the SABC is getting feedback from viewers. Households would need the box set, estimated to cost R700, in order to view digital TV.
Upon setting a TV to an AV transmitter and plugging it in, not only were the channels clearer, but there were four additional channels SABC's 24-hour news channel, SABC International, etv's e classics, an international sport channel and a children's channel.
SABC's Kaizer Kganyago said this was a massive and complex project. He said the Department of Communications contracted the manufacturers to manufacture and do the trial run of the set box.
The testing phase ensured that feedback was received to avoid glitches during the launch.
"The manufacturers came up with the suggested price and government would subsidise the poor up to 70percent of the total price," Kganyago said.
Communications' Tiyani Rikhotso said the estimated R700 price was set after taking into account the advanced technology of the box set.
He said European countries such as the UK have already migrated on the M-HEG 2 compression standard, the technology contained in the box set.
"It will be difficult to pin down the price of the box as it will be determined by the foreign currency exchange rates of the imported chip-set at the time."