Households can register now for digital TV decoders
Starting 1 September, qualifying households in all of South Africa can register at their local post office for a subsidised digital television decoder.
Television viewers will need a decoder (commonly called a set-top box) to watch television in areas where transmission has switched over to digital television signals.
Households whose joint income is R3 200 per month or less can register for a subsidised set-top box. To qualify, the applicant must be a South African citizen and the household must have a working television set.
"Applicants need a copy of their identity document, proof of residence, proof of income and an affidavit to confirm that they have a television set when they apply" says Rian de Jager, regional retail head at the SA Post Office. He said there is a post office in every town or village - in total, there are 193 post offices in the Western Cape. De Jager said it would be wise to apply as soon as possible and avoid a last-minute rush. Local contractors will be enlisted to install the decoder and antenna. Households that already have a satellite subscription television service will not need a decoder.
According to De Jager, the estimated number of needy households with a working TV in the Southern Cape is 78 512. The post offices in the George area (with the estimated number of households in brackets) where people can apply are George (32 249), George Industria (4 195), George East (22 636) and Garden Route Mall (6 565).
The SA Post Office coordinates the application and distribution of the government-subsidised TV set-top boxes, which will be necessary to receive television broadcasts once South Africa switches from analogue to digital signals. The SKA
(Square Kilometre Array) area in the Northern Cape was the first to switch to digital TV transmissions. Since October 2016, there has been no analogue broadcast. The areas of South Africa that border other countries are next in line, because South Africa's outdated analogue transmissions could cause interference with transmissions in our neighbouring countries.
Benefits of digital over analogue TV transmission include clearer sound, more channels and a digital TV guide which can be easily updated for more accurate schedules. It also allows for interactive services like games and apps as well as switching to the audio bouquet on the television to receive all 18 SAMC radio channels.