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National broadcaster ZNBC set to go digital tomorrow



Source: ZNBC

The Zambia National Broadcasting Corporation is set to migrate from analogue to digital television broadcasting tomorrow, Wednesday the 18th of June, as a requirement by the ITU (International Telecommunications Union) to have all broadcasters switch from analogue to digital broadcasting, with Zambia’s deadline having been June 2015.

According to the ZNBC Facebook page in a post earlier today, Information and Broadcasting Minister, Chishimba Kambwili says phase one of the process has been completed. He told Parliament in a ministerial statement that Zambia will for the next six months continue broadcasting on both digital and analogue transmission after which there will be a complete switch to digital. He also assured that the country will not experience a black out following the switch from analogue to digital transmission.

Mr. Kambwili had told parliament that government has put in place a three months payment credit incentive for people who can’t afford to buy decoders and aerials, and encouraged retailers who want to sell the set top boxes to obtain accreditation from the Zambia Information Communication and Technology Authority (ZICTA).

His Excellency Edgar Chagwa Lungu is set to officially launch Phase 1of the digital television broadcasting at Mass Media Complex on Monday, 22nd June 2015.

ZICTA last year had explained what digital migration means, saying ‘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.

What this mainly means for Zambia is the need for viewers to switch to smarter/modern TVs or buy set top boxes that can access this network. There will be 6 months of dual-transmission of both analogue and digital signals which would give some enough time to trade in their beloved TV sets, or buy the decoder.

Reactions are varied. Yes it will improve the quality of reception of the TV signals, but what are we watching next that will make this move exciting? Will the content being shown improve as well? There have been complaints of TV shows or programs constantly on repeat, except for the main news.

Digital migration will have the following advantages:

  • 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 quality.

So, are you excited?


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