South Africa has selected MHEG-5 as the interactive TV middleware for its digital switchover

Technology & Convergence

IMPALA, the International MHEG Promotion Alliance, is pleased to announce that South Africa – via its Digital Dzonga Advisory Council – has selected MHEG-5 as the interactive TV middleware for its digital switchover.

Following on from a successful DTT trial that began last year, the SABC, South Africa’s public broadcaster, led the process of developing a MHEG-5 profile for South Africa to meet some of the unique needs of the South African market. The South African MHEG-5 profile has now been finalised and can be obtained from SABC while the overall receiver specifications are now also being completed. The MHEG specification includes a platform-wide EPG that will allow consistent listings and onscreen branding. The profile also includes support for the delivery of a wide range of interactive services.

The Digital Dzonga Council is an advisory body appointed by government in 2008 to oversee South Africa’s migration to digital terrestrial broadcasting. Government has taken an inclusive and transparent approach to the development and implementation of the digital migration process, and the Digital Dzonga Council includes representatives from both the public and private sectors. Council members include government (Department of Communications), consumer groups, broadcasters (SABC,, M-Net), manufacturers, the national signal distributor (Sentech) and the regulator (ICASA).

Aldred Dreyer, SABC Technical Project Manager, DTT, says, “We selected MHEG-5 because it is cost-effective with lower royalties than other middleware solutions and it is an open standard and not proprietary to any one vendor. In addition it uses little memory.”

Giri Valliappan, Director of Market Development with IMPALA, says, “It is very pleasing to be able to announce that another countrywide project has chosen MHEG-5 as its interactive middleware. 2009 has seen a host of developments for the technology including the IP-based MHEG Interaction Channel and significant HD advances, both now with ETSI for its approval.”

The founder members of IMPALA are Strategy & Technology (S&T), Cabot Communications and Echostar Europe. IMPALA (International MHEG Promotion Alliance) is a newly formed association of software manufacturers and supporters who are engaged with the use of MHEG. IMPALA, founded by Strategy & Technology (S&T), Cabot Communications and EchoStar Europe, promotes the use of the MHEG-5 interactive TV standard outside the UK for public service broadcasters in terrestrial, satellite or cable; wherever the use of low cost iTV technology is a benefit. For further information see