Singapore's free-to-air (FTA) TV channels will go fully digital by the end of 2013 using the DVB-T2 (Digital Video Broadcasting - Second Generation Terrestrial) broadcasting standard, Singapore's media sector regulator Media Development Authority (MDA) announced today.
With this, Singapore will join the elite group of countries in the region which have gone or are soon going all digital in TV broadcasting. In the Asia-Pacific region, only Japan has already gone fully digital since June 2011. Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong and South Korea are planning to go digital between 2012 and 2015.
With Singapore's migration to digital TV, free-to-air broadcaster MediaCorp will transmit all its seven free-to-air channels digitally by end 2013, according to a statement by MDA.
Channels 5, 8, Suria and Vasantham will be available in High Definition by end 2013. The remaining three channels - okto, Channel U and Channel NewsAsia - will first be broadcast in Standard Definition from end 2013, before being broadcast in High Definition in 2016, said the media regulator.
"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.
Singapore will complete the switchover from analogue to digital broadcasting by 2020, in line with ASEAN's agreed timeframe for making the switch. However, there will be a simulcast period, where both digital and analogue free-to-air television signals will be broadcast to ensure all households have time to get accustomed to receiving their free-to-air TV signals digitally.
Once DVB-T2 broadcasting begins, consumers will be able to enjoy an enhanced viewing experience when watching MediaCorp's free-to-air digital television channels, according to MDA. This includes sharper and clearer images, cinematic surround-sound effects, and new content and services such as an electronic programme guide.
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 said it is working with manufacturers to develop the technical specifications suitable for Singapore's digital TV receivers.
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