If you are thinking of buying a TV set during the next couple of years, make sure you know whether it is one designed to receive a digital or an analogue signal.

South Africa will switch to a digital signal
Until now, South African TV sets have received an analogue signal. Over the next few years South Africa will switch to a digital system. This means that old system analogue sets will need a decoder to view TV once the switch over is complete.
The analogue system will be switched off in 2011. In the meantime the two systems will run in parallel. Digital decoders are expected to be on sale from 2009.

Make a wise TV buying decision

But in the meantime, the public need to make wise buying decisions. At present digital sets cost about twice as much as analogue sets. The prices of ‘being phased out’ analogue sets can be expected to drop even lower as shops seek to offload stocks. So they will be much cheaper, but remember to factor in the cost of buying a decoder in the future.
Digital sets, on the other hand, can be expected to come down in price as sales pick up. And they won’t need decoders in the future.
Want the cheapest option? Analogue can be expected to be cheaper, even taking the decoder into account. But price is not the only consideration. The digital picture quality will be better than analogue – hence the reason for the changeover and why some people have been buying digital sets during the last few years.  

DSTV and Mweb subscribers are not affected
None of this affects DSTV and Mweb subscribers because their decoders currently convert their digital signal to analogue.
All other users will either need a digital set or will need to purchase a decoder (retail cost about R500 – R600). The decoder with be a once-off purchase with no monthly subscriptions.

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