Singapore free-to-air TV channels to go digital from end 2013

All 7 Singapore free-to-air (FTA) TV channels under MediaCorp will go fully digital by the end of 2013. Minister for Information, Communications and the Arts Yaacob Ibrahim made the announcement at the opening ceremony of the Infocomm Media Business Exchange yesterday morning. Digital TV can provide better quality pictures and sound. It also allows electronic programme guides which will contain more information about the TV programmes.
Singapore will be adopting the DVB-T2 standard (Digital Video Broadcasting – Second Generation Terrestrial) which is in use in countries like UK, Italy, Russia, Thailand, Malaysia etc. All 7 free-to-air channel will migrate to digital TV by end of 2013. But don’t worry, analogue transmissions will continue until 2020. This long period is to allow Singaporeans to make the transition to Digital TV.
MediaCorp Channels 5, 8, Suria and Vasantham will be available in High Definition (HD) by end 2013 while okto, Channel U and Channel News Asia will first be broadcast in Standard Definition before switching to HD in 2016.
And there is no need to throw away your existing analogue TV. There will be two ways to tune into digital TV signal. Viewers who are currently subscribed to pay-TV services like Starhub Cable TV or SingTel mioTV need not do anything as they are already receiving the TV channels digitally. Those who are not subscribed to any pay-TV services can purchase an antenna and a DVB-T2 digital receiver. The receivers will be available from March or April 2013 and is expected to cost between S$60 and S$100. Let’s hope the government has plans to subsidise the digital receiver for low income families.
The digital TV switchover is going to be a long process. It will take several years before all household is ready to receive digital channels. MDA will need to work closely with the media and major TV manufactures/retailers to educate the public. This is not going to be an easy task. But don’t worry, we got until year 2020.
For more information about Singapore Digital TV road map, visit MDA website.

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