Cape Town – South Africa's satellite pay TV operator MultiChoice
has a warning for the South African government's ambitious switch-over target to digital television.
The pay TV operator told audiences at the AfricaCast 2011 TV summit in Cape Town that South Africa's digital terrestrial television (DTT) date target is a "stretch".
It cited how even European nations with a much more developed TV market took much longer to execute and complete the switch – with mixed results so far.
Earlier this year the South African government adjusted and has now set the end of 2013 as the new date by which it wants to complete South Africa's transition from analogue broadcasting to digital television broadcasting, a process known as digital migration.
This long-delayed switch-over will affect all of South Africa's estimated 29.3 million TV households.'Aggressive'
Chris Oberholzer, the head of strategy and development at the South African satellite broadcaster MultiChoice, called South Africa's cut-off date "aggressive" and "far stretched".
He referenced in detail a case study of DTT in France, a European nation with a well-developed television broadcasting architecture, infrastructure and consumer TV market.
He illustrated how difficult and intricate it was for France to make the switch to digital television, the surprising problems encountered, and how the digital migration process took much longer.
"South Africa is being very aggressive about our digital terrestrial television (DTT) migration," he told delegates from across Africa. "We [South Africa] believe that we can switch off analogue broadcasts by 2013. That belief is rather far stretched and a bridge too far."