A decision by the South African government on the digital terrestrial television broadcasting (DTT) standard to be adopted by the country, remains in limbo. Cabinet discussed the issue on Wednesday 8 December but as no decision was reached broadcasters will have to wait for 2011 to finalise their digital transition strategy.
The SABC, e.tv and M-Net, as well as state-owned signal distributor Sentech will have to place their plans on hold for DTT migration until Padayachie makes a statement in the new year.
Uncertainty has raged within the South African industry since early 2010 when former communications minister, Siphiwe Nayanda announced his department’s unexpected support for the Brazilian-Japanese standard, Integrated Services Digital Broadcasting – Terrestrial (ISDB-T). He and the DoC were strongly criticised for foisting the possibility of another standard on the industry when broadcasters and stakeholders had already invested more than R700m in preparing for the adoption of Digital Video Broadcasting-Terrestrial (DVB-T).
Information communications and technology ministers of the Southern African Development Community recommended on 24 November that the region deploy the second generation of the European standard for digital broadcasts, known as DVB-T2. They, however, stated the selection of the standard would be in the hands of individual countries.