Singapore’s Media Development Authority has announced that all free-to-air terrestrial TV channels will go fully digital by the end of 2013 using the DVB-T2 standard.
With Singapore’s migration to digital TV, free-to-air broadcaster MediaCorp will transmit all its seven FTA channels digitally by end 2013.
Channels 5, 8, Suria and Vasantham will be available in HD by end 2013. The remaining three channels – okto, Channel U and Channel NewsAsia will first be broadcast in SDS from end 2013, before being broadcast in HD in 2016.
“The world is switching from analogue to digital TV broadcasting as digital TV not only offers better image and sound quality, but also frees up scarce spectrum for other services, such as wireless broadband,” said Minister for Information, Communications and the Arts Dr Yaacob Ibrahim at the opening ceremony of Infocomm Media Business Exchange (imbX) on 19 June 2012 at the Marina Bay Sands.
The adoption of DVB-T2 standard comes after a successful trial conducted last year with MediaCorp and pay-TV operator StarHub. The trial, which involved some 500 households in Ang Mo Kio and Bedok housing estates, showed that DVB-T2 was suitable for deployment in Singapore’s urbanised environment.
To ensure a smooth switchover, there will be a simulcast period, where both digital and analogue FTA signals will be broadcast to ensure all households have time to get accustomed to receiving their free-to-air TV signals digitally. Singapore will complete the switchover from analogue to digital broadcasting by 2020, in line with ASEAN’s agreed timeframe for making the switch.
Consumers who are non-pay TV subscribers will need a DVB-T2 digital receiver and an indoor or outdoor antenna to receive digital TV signals on their current TV sets. MDA is working with manufacturers to develop the technical specifications suitable for Singapore’s digital TV receivers. These digital TV receivers are expected to be available in Singapore from early next year before MediaCorp starts transmitting the free-to-air channels digitally at the end of 2013.
(Picture shows the entrance to MediaCorp Caldecott Broadcast Centre; image by Calvin Teo)