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Business News of Saturday, 9 February 2013

Source: Daily Guide

NCA gears up for digital TV migration

As part of efforts to ensure the smooth switch over from analogue broadcasting services to Digital Terrestrial Television (DTT) by 2014, the National Communications Authority (NCA) has released the Minimum Specifications for Receivers of Free to Air (DTT) in Ghana.

The minimum specifications have been developed because the free to air terrestrial television stations: GTV, TV3, TV Africa, Crystal TV, Metro TV, Viasat1, Net-2 TV, e-TV Ghana, Coastal TV, GhOne, Top TV, UTV and other stations with similar licenses, will migrate their transmissions from analogue to a digital platform in accordance with the Geneva 2006 (GE06) Agreement of the International Telecommunications Union (ITU).

“This is in pursuance of the Authority’s mandate under Section 3(a) of the National Communications Authority Act, 2008, Act 769 to establish and monitor the implementation of national communications standards and ensure compliance accordingly,” the Authority noted.

Digital TV migration requires less power to transmit efficiently and allow more signals to be carried over a given infrastructure.

It will further provide viewers with improved sound and image reception without interference and ensure the efficient use of spectrum since a single frequency can be used to carry all stations.

In an interview with CITY & BUSINESS GUIDE, Edmund Fianko, an Engineering Manager at NCA and Secretary at Digital Broadcasting Migration Committee, noted that the Minimum Specification will ensure a DTT receiver, which will provide good quality video and sound for the viewer and to ensure the lowest possible cost for the free-to-air receiver.

“The Specification therefore sets requirements for a free-to-air DTT receiver which will result in a low cost, low maintenance unit providing basic functionality.”

During the digital migration period, television viewers will be required to get a digital set-top-box (STB) or what is also referred to as decoder, which converts signals into content which can then be displayed on a television screen.

To protect consumers from sub-standard products, the NCA directed that DTT receivers sold on the Ghanaian market conform to the minimum receiver specification, which is available on the Authority’s website (www.nca.org.gh).

It noted that “to enforce this requirement, all STBs and integrated digital TV sets sold in Ghana shall pass a conformance test in order to obtain the ‘digital Ghana thumb’ which has been developed as a certification mark to help consumers and retailers through switchover in Ghana.

The logo is designed to identify digital TV products and digital TV services that have been tested and found to conform to Ghana’s technical specifications.”

According to the authority, “With immediate effect, there shall be no manufacture, assembly, importation, marketing or sale of a STB for DTT, which does not conform to the requirements specified in this document.

Consumers of Digital Terrestrial Television (DTT) services are hereby advised to “look for the logo” when buying digital TV equipment.”

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