Put simply, digital migration is the switch from analogue to digital broadcasting. As a directive by the International Telecommunications Union (think of them as the bosses of everything tech in the world), broadcasters are supposed to make the switch from analogue to digital broadcasting.
ZICTA explained this concept in a Facebook post in September, stating that ‘Digital Terrestrial TV (DTT) refers to a change in the manner the terrestrial (over land as oppose to satellite) TV signal is produced, broadcast and received. With analogue TV, signals are analogue in nature while with digital TV, signals are digital. To broadcast a DTT signal, DTT digital transmission infrastructure is needed – mainly transmitters. To receive and display a DTT signal, it is necessary that a viewer has the right reception equipment either: a digital TV set or a standard analogue TV set with a converter called a Set Top Box, (STB). The scope of DTT migration is limited to TV and does not cover radio broadcasting.’
The whole migration process is a costly one for everyone, both the government and also the rest of the population. It means getting resources and technology to make the shift possible on the part of the government, and on the part of the population, investing in digital set top boxes and digital TVs.
However, it’s a much needed move for the following benefits:
- It frees up spectrum bandwidth because digital broadcast signals can be compressed, and then this free space can be sold to mobile operators and other communication providers who want to provide better wireless services.
- There will be better picture and sound quality.
- In what analogue broadcasting allows only one channel to be shown on, a spectrum can now have several channels flowing on it with digital broadcasting as digital channels can be compressed.
- Digital broadcasting can also be spread over a wider area so people all over the country can have access to the same programming.
The Zambian government has stated that it will complete its digital migration before the June 2015 deadline so that’s something we’ll watch closely.