BY BISI OLALEYE
The migration to digital broadcasting is set for 2015 and players in the sector are getting warmed up to actualise this transition. However, the worry in the sector has been whether Nigeria can actually transit without any hitch. And whether the cost of acquiring digital set top boxes will not stifle citizenry, considering the recession.
The digital set top boxes are required by every television set to receive digital signals. Digital broadcasting is the practice of using digital data rather than analogue waveforms to carry broadcasts over television channels. The decision for this transition was reached at the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) conference in Geneva, in June 2006, attended by several continents, including Africa, and Nigeria as a country. Stakeholders at various forums have agreed that the switchover from analogue to digital broadcasting will create new distribution networks and expand potential for wireless innovation and services.
It was also deliberated at the ITU conference that the inherent flexibility offered by digital terrestrial broadcasting would support mobile reception of video, internet and multimedia data, making applications, services and information accessible and usable anywhere and at any time and open the door to new innovations such as handheld TV broadcast along with high-definition television, while providing greater bandwidth to existing mobile, fixed and radio navigation services.
According to Eugene Juwah, Executive Vice Chairman, Nigerian Communications Commission, NCC, the digital dividend accruing from efficiency in spectrum usage would allow more channels to be carried across fewer airwaves and lead to greater convergence of services. “The advantages of digital broadcasting over analogue systems are expanded services; higher quality video and audio; greater variety and faster rates of data transmission; consistency of data flows over long distances and more spectrum efficiency, which will bring about more channels”.
Minister of Communications Technology, Mrs. Omobola Johnson also disclosed that digital migration will spark domestic production of set-top boxes. ”The government is wooing foreign and local companies to invest in the production of digital TV set-top boxes, with the hope of producing 20 million set top boxes. I don’t believe that we should repeat the same mistakes we made in the past.
We are partnering with the Ministry of Trade and Investment to encourage and incentivize companies, both those established inside and outside Nigeria to take advantage of the coming digital migration because there will be a need for companies that manufacture set top boxes.” Digital television (DTV) is the transmission of audio and video by digitally processed and multiplexed signal, in contrast to the totally analog and channel separated signals used by analog TV.
It is an innovative service that represents a significant evolution in television technology since color television in the 1950s. Many countries are replacing broadcast with digital television to allow other uses of the television radio spectrum, analog televisionm. Several regions of the world are in different stages of adaptation and are implementing different broadcasting standards. There are four different digital television terrestrial broadcasting standards (DTTB) and they are: Advanced Television System Committee (ATSC) uses eight-level vestigial sideband (8 VSB) for terrestrial broadcasting.
This standard has been adopted in the United States and in other countries. Digital Video Broadcasting-Terrestrial (DVB-T) uses coded orthogonal frequency-division multiplexing (C-OFDM) modulation and supports hierarchical transmission.
This standard has been adapted in Europe and Australia. Terrestrial Integrated Services Digital Broadcasting (ISDB-T) is a system designed to provide good reception to fix receivers and also portable or mobile receivers. It utilizes OFDM and two-dimensional interleaving. It supports hierarchical But there are General Manager of GOtv Nigeria, Mr. Mayo Okunola, explained that the GOtv platform was designed to make digital television available to all. “The GOtv brand was specially created to make available an affordable digital television services for all. When people think digital television, they immediately imagine it has to be expensive. This is not the case with GOtv, which offers great family entertainment at affordable price”.