The information on transition from analogue to digital terrestrial television broadcasting in Ghana has been structured into three (3) sections as follows:
1. What is migration from Analogue Television to Digital Television Broadcasting?
Migration from analogue to digital broadcasting refers to the process in which television services operating on analogue networks are transferred to digital based transmission networks over a period of time. At the end of the process the analogue transmitters are switched off. All these stations would be transmitted in digital form in the migration. The digital form which Ghana would be using is the DVB-T2.
2. What is DVB-T2?
DVBT-2 is an abbreviation for Digital Video Broadcasting – Second Generation Terrestrial. It is the enhancement of the television standard DVB-T, used for the digital TV broadcast transmission in Africa, Europe and Middle East. It is a suitable system for carrying more SDTV, HDTV, mobile TV and other multimedia signals on the terrestrial TV channel.
4. What is the difference between Analogue TV and Digital TV?
Analogue and digital television differ in the way the information is carried from the transmitting end to the receiver. In simple terms, in analogue broadcasting the signal is in the form of a continuous wave, whereas digital is in the form of discrete bits of information.
In digital, the signal is encoded and can be compressed to allow for more channels to be broadcast. For instance twenty channels in the standard format (standard definition format) can be provided in a single frequency allocation compared to only one channel provided in analogue mode.
5. What is Digital Terrestrial Television (DTT)?
Digital Terrestrial Television is television broadcast over ground based digital transmission systems and received within the coverage area with an antenna.
6. Why is digital broadcasting migration happening?
The world is migrating to digital to offer more programmes, more services, improved quality and to improve spectrum and energy efficiencies.
7. When would the migration take place in Ghana?
The roll out of Digital Terrestrial Television platform for migration would happen in three (3) phases as follows:
- Phase 1: Greater Accra and Ashanti Regions by February 2016
- Phase 2: Volta, Northern, Upper East and Upper West Regions by May 2016
- Phase 3: Western, Central, Eastern and Brong Ahafo Regions by July 2016.
After the rollout of Free-to-Air (FTA) DTT services across the country, one year would be allowed for consumers to acquire digital TV receiving apparatus (i.e. set-top-box decoders or integrated Digital TV sets) before the analogue television services are switched off to complete the migration.
8. What equipment will be required to receive digital television?
You either need either of the following:
- • An Integrated Digital Television (which has an inbuilt digital tuner) together with a UHF antenna or
- • An analogue TV set together with a Set Top Box and a UHF antenna.
9. What is an integrated digital television receiver (IDTV)?
IDTV is a television set which contains all the components necessary to receive and display digital transmissions. Integrated digital television receivers have inbuilt digital TV tuners (for our case DVB-T2) and hence does not require digital set top box. Consumers should be careful not to make wrong choices thinking that all Flat screen TVs are iDTVs. Look for the ‘Digital Ghana’ conformance logo when buying an iDTV.
10. What is a Set Top Box?
A Set Top Box is a unit that receives the digital TV signal captured over the air by an antenna and decodes or converts the digital signal into a format that can be understood and displayed by an analogue TV.
11. How would digital broadcasting migration affect me?
Analogue TV sets cannot receive digital TV signals directly. However, an intermediary device popularly called set-top boxes (STBs) or decoders can be installed to enable TV viewers to watch digital TV services on their current analogue TV sets. Alternatively, integrated digital TV sets (iDTVs) could also be used to receive digital TV services.
Therefore, when digital TV services become available in your area, the individual or the household has to acquire a set-top box to connect to their existing analogue TV in order to receive the TV services in digital form.
The alternative is to buy a digital television set which is able to receive digital signals directly from an antenna.
12. How can I tell if my TV or Set Top Box is an approved one or conforms to Ghana’s DTT Standards?
Your Set Top Box and integrated Digital TV should conform to Ghana’s DTT Receiver standard. Conformance to Ghana’s DTT standard is marked by the ‘Digital Ghana’ logo affixed on the receiver. The list of approved DTT receivers is published on the Digital Switchover Page on the website of the National Communications Authority (http://nca.org.gh/72/45/Digital-Switchover-Project.html)
13. Are there Set-Top Boxes in the market, and if so where? How do I establish if the Set Top Box is an approved one?
Yes, there are. Kindly visit the link below on the website of the National Communications Authority for the list of approved DTT receivers:
14. Will I need to buy a new TV to receive DTT?
You do not need to buy a new TV if you already have an analogue TV. With an existing analogue TV Set you will need to buy an approved Set Top Box that complies with Ghana’s DTT Receiver standard and has the ‘Digital Ghana’ conformance logo and you would be able to receive digital transmission.
15. If I am a DSTV or myTV Subscriber and already have a DSTV or myTV decoder, do I still need a Set Top Box?
DSTV and Multi TV decoders are fed from satellite dishes and can only receive satellite transmission. As a DSTV or myTV Subscriber you have a DSTV or myTV satellite dish and a DSTV or myTV decoder duly installed. And you should have a valid subscription to view DSTV or myTV programmes on your TV set.
In the case of DTT, you need a certified digital set top box and a UHF TV aerial. The aerial should be connected to the STB and the STB connected to the same TV set to which your DSTV or myTV decoder is connected to or another. You would not be able to view the two at the same time if the two decoders are connected to the same TV Set. You would have to switch between the services using the input button on your TV remote control. On some TV remote controls, the input button is labeled ‘SOURCE’.
It is possible that there would be Combo Set-top boxes that may support both satellite and terrestrial services. However, you will still require a dish antenna and UHF antenna to be connected to the combo STB.
16. Can my DTT set-top box receive DSTV programmes?
No. The set-top box only receives TV programmes transmitted from the digital terrestrial transmitters. DSTV programmes are received from satellite hence you need a DSTV decoder and satellite dish.
17. If I have five TV Sets in my house, will I need five Set Top Boxes?
This will depend on how you would want to operate the TV Sets. It is possible to feed all sets from one Set Top Box but they will all show the same programme that is selected. For the TV Set to show different programmes, each TV Set should be connected to a separate Set Top Box.
18. What is the cost of a Set Top Box and how are they installed?
The set-top box market is liberalized as far as it conforms to the national DTT Receiver specification. The prices would be competitively set by the market.
Setting up a set-top box is a simple process similar to connecting a DVD player to your TV Set. Just follow the instructions given in the user manual and enjoy digital services.
19. There are a variety of Flat screen TV sets on the market, how do I establish which ones are approved?
Approved Flat screen TV sets would be identified with the digital Ghana Logo in the various shops. Look out for the conformance Logo that certifies an approved TV Set.
Once again, remember that not all Flat screen TVs are iDTVs or are DTT compliant.
20. Can my flat screen TV receive the digital signal without the set-top box?
The flat screen TV would receive only if it is an integrated TV receiver with an inbuilt digital decoder that complies with Ghana’s DTT Receiver specification. As mentioned earlier, not all Flat screen TVs are iDTVs or are DTT compliant.
21. If I have an integrated TV set or a set-top box from America or Japan will it work with the platform?
No. It is not likely to work. The Ghana Digital platform is a DVB-T2 system. The ATSC system from America and ISDBT system from Japan are not compatible with it.