SA will get terrestrial HD TV, but not just yet

Technology & Convergence

Good news for SA consumers who don't have access to satellite pay-TV is that the country is set to get terrestrial high-definition channels. The bad news is that they'll have to wait at least another three years to enjoy the crisper images served up by HD broadcasts.

The Independent Communications Authority of SA (ICASA), which regulates telecommunications and broadcasting services, says terrestrial HD TV broadcasts are on the cards, but only once the country has migrated fully to digital terrestrial television. The period of dual illumination, where both analogue and digital broadcasts coexist, will end in April 2013, at earliest.

In a “reasons document” accompanying the release on Monday of the latest version of ICASA's digital migration regulations, the regulatory authority says the transition to terrestrial HD broadcasts will happen in terms of a review of the so-called “digital dividend”. This refers to the radio frequency spectrum that will be freed up by the move from analogue to digital.