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On 31 March 2022, television signal will be switched from analogue to digital. This means that viewers will require a decoder to watch SABC and E-TV. 

Those who do have dishes and decoders do not need to do anything.  

Anyone who has access to electricity and owns a TV and earns less than R3 500 per month, may apply for the free decoder set up.  


What is Digital Migration?

It is a process of moving from analogue to digital broadcasting. It is a technology change from the old analogue system to a modern digital system that delivers a better-quality viewing experience. A viewer needs a digital decoder or STB, either terrestrial DTT or satellite DTH, to experience the new high quality viewing experience.

What is the difference between Digital Terrestrial Television (DTT) and Direct to Home (DTH)?

DTT is a digital TV that uses land-based (terrestrial) digital transmitters to distribute signal to your home. DTH is a digital TV that uses satellite to distribute broadcast channels in digital signal to your home.

Why do we need to change from analogue to digital TV?

In keeping with other countries and advancing technological developments worldwide, the government has an international obligation to migrate from analogue TV to digital. The benefits of digital TV broadcasting include:

• Excellent picture quality

• Clearer sound

• More channels

• A digital TV guide which can be easily updated for more accurate schedules.

• Interactive services like games or the Weather channel.

• Picture quality which does not deteriorate with a weaker TV aerial signal. Your TV picture will either be perfect or you will have no picture at all. No more snowy pictures.

• Allows transmission of high definition (HD 1080) TV pictures

• Radio Stations

What do I need to switch to Digital Migration?

You need a digital decoder also known as a Set Top Box (STB) also called a decoder, which is a device that will decode the digital signal to enable the channels to be displayed on your television set.

How to qualify for a subsidised decoder?

The government will provide free decoders to five (5) million poor TV-owning households. The following groups may qualify to receive a subsidy:

• You must be a South African with South African Identity Document (ID)

• Poor TV-Owning households, earning R3500 or less or are recipients of a social grant

• Households with a functioning TV set

• Households already covered by the SABC concessionary TV licence scheme.

• South Africans living around the border region areas and SKA in the Northern Cape.

Households earning more than R3500

Households earning more than R3500 per month will be expected to purchase their own decoders at any retail shop either DSTV, OpenView or StarSat. Government decoders are not available in the market as yet, however digital TVs bearing the Go Digital mark are also available and suitable to receive DTT broadcast channels without an additional decoder.

If I am a DStv, OpenView or StarSat, do I still need a decoder?

No, because these are already digital, it is your choice, only if you want to view additional channels that will be on the DTT. DSTv, OpenView or StarSat are already in digital format.

Will I need a new TV aerial?

Yes, you may need a new outdoor UHF aerial. In some instances, your old UHF aerial will still work. The installer will advise you.

When people talk about “digital migration” or “digital switchover” – what do they mean?

This is the process of moving from an analogue to a digital TV broadcast. Digital switchover and digital migration are the same thing. 

Do I need to buy a new television set to receive DTT?

No. All analogue (old) TV sets will be able to receive DTT, provided you connect it to an STB. TVs that are able to receive the Digital TV channels without the STB are now available in the market and carry the Go Digital mark. This is a “digital TV” or Integrated Digital Television (IDTV). Important to note that even when a TV is “digital ready” or “HD ready” – it does not mean that it can receive a digital broadcasting without an STB. Look for the “Go Digital” mark or the “DVB-T2” mark to confirm that the TV is an IDTV.

What equipment do I need to watch DTT?

You need a decoder or STB (similar to DSTV or OVHD). Alternatively, you can also get an IDTV if you live in an area that has digital terrestrial network coverage.

Will I need to pay a subscription every month like DStv?

No, it is free if you have DTT or DTH free-to-air decoder/STB. Those who do choose the commercial decoders from DSTV and StarSat will be expected to pay for the service with their preferred service providers. OpenView is free-to-air, you only pay once off when you buy your decoder and installation from the retailer. However, everyone must continue to pay TV licence as required by the law.

What is the difference between digital terrestrial television (DTT) and satellite television?

These are simply different ways of broadcasting a signal. Satellite television broadcasts from a satellite in space from which you receive via a satellite dish that is mounted to your house. Digital Terrestrial Television uses transmitters on the ground to broadcast the signal which you then receive using a TV aerial and a decoder.

What is an integrated digital television?

It is now possible to buy a TV with a decoder built into the TV. These are called integrated digital televisions (IDTV) because the decoder is integrated. You will still need an outdoor UHF aerial to pick up the signal from the air so that your IDTV can decode and display the pictures.

Will I need three decoders: One for SABC, one for and one for M-Net?

No, only one - Your decoder will be able to receive digital channels from all licensed South African broadcasters. For MNet DTT channels, you will need a GoTV decoder which also has all SABC and etv channels, but you will be paying monthly fees to Mnet. 16. Where can I purchase a smart card for my decoder? You do not need to buy a smart card, it is built into the decoder.

Can I add channels on the decoder?

No broadcasters will add new channels as they become available.

Will I be able to watch DTT if I only have a satellite dish?

No, it is not necessary because your satellite decoder has all the channels that are available in the DTT. You will not be able to receive DTT channels if you have a satellite DTH decoder

If I have three TV sets in the house, will I need three STB’s?


Do I need a high-definition TV for this switchover to DTT?

HD television is not required to watch digital broadcasts, but if the programme content was recorded in High Definition the user of HD Television will see improved clarity and detail which was never possible on analogue broadcasts.

What do I do if my decoder does not provide a good quality TV picture?

This could be caused by a faulty TV aerial or TV wiring or signal reception problems.

Call the Call Center: 0860 736-832 or WhatsApp: 072 196-8368 for assistance.

R3500 Qualifying Criteria Leaflets English