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Digital Migration PDF Print E-mail

FROM: Uganda Communication Commission Website

(A) Migration

1. What is digital migration?

Digital Broadcasting Migration is a process in which broadcasting services offered on the traditional analog technology are replaced with digital based networks over a specific period. The transition or switch from analog television to digital television is referred to as the Digital Migration.
2. Why must Uganda undergo Digital Migration?

Uganda is a member of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), a specialized UN agency that coordinates global use of radio spectrum, works to improve telecommunication infrastructure, and assists in the development of technical standards worldwide.
In 2006, Uganda, like other members of ITU, became a signatory to a treaty with a resolution that all countries around the world were to migrate from analogue to digital services within six years from the conference. This migration would make more efficient use of available spectrum for broadcasting, which spectrum is a finite resource globally and in Uganda.
3. What are the benefits of digital migration?

Digital broadcasting is the way the world is moving. Migration will enhance the lives of the TV viewing public and Ugandans as a whole through the following benefits:
The digital broadcasting experience, enabled by a Set Top Box (STB) connected to your analog TV set or viewed via a digital TV set, offers a sharper, brighter picture, with reduced "ghosting” and interference. What’s more, the audio signal is much clearer, so you enjoy improved sound quality.
Digital signals take up much less bandwidth than the analogue signals. That means we can broadcast up to 10 TV channels in the space currently used to carry one - giving potential entrants to broadcasting greater ease of entry, while viewers will have many more channels to choose from, with more content.
Digital broadcasting will ensure TV viewers in Uganda have improved television reception, particularly in areas with poor signal strength.
Because digital signals use less bandwidth than analogue signals, digital TV broadcasting will free up spectrum for other uses that will ultimately benefit Ugandans, e.g. wireless broadband, telephony, etc.
Digital Migration will enable interactive video and data services that are not possible with "analog” technology. Broadcasters will be able to incorporate special functions to the viewing experience, such as audio description and subtitles for those with hearing impairments, amongst others.
Digital Migration will help reduce on the environmental impact of broadcast infrastructure by the ability to use single broadcast infrastructures with multiple broadcasters instead of independent parallel networks.
Digital Migration will allow new business opportunities and more players in the market, and in turn provide more jobs for Ugandans in broadcasting and digital content-generation.
4. What is the timetable for the migration in Uganda?

The process of switching off the analogue signal in Uganda is expected to be complete by end July 2014. After that, all TV viewers in Uganda will need to have a set-top-box (STB) for every analog TV or use a digital TV in order to receive television services.
5. Do I have to change to digital broadcasting?

No one is forced to change but TV sets not converted by the digital migration deadline will be left blank.
6. How can I prepare for the Digital TV migration?

Preparing for the Digital TV migration is easy and requires that all current and potential TV set owners in Uganda do the following by July 2014:
EITHER acquire a Set-Top-Box (STB) to connect to your analogue TV
OR purchase a digital television set, which has an inbuilt digital tuner.
7. Must I wait until 2014 to switch to digital TV?

No. You do not need to wait until July 2014 to switch to digital TV broadcasting. If you are in an area that is currently covered by the digital signal, all you need is to purchase a DVB-T2 set-top-box that you will connect to your existing analogue TV. This set top box will therefore enable you to receive digital broadcast on your existing analogue TV using your existing UHF aerial.
July 2014 has been set as the digital migration deadline. This means that broadcasters will shut down their analogue TV transmitters and only digital TV signal will be available thereafter. In that case, if by then you will not have acquired a set top box or an integrated digital TV, you will then not be able to receive digital TV service (analogue TV will also not be available).
8. When will the Analogue Signal be switched off?

In Uganda, the official switch off date for the analogue signal is set for July 31, 2014; however, between 2013-2014, analogue and digital will be broadcast in tandem to ensure that viewers can access television services, whether or not they have as yet acquired Set-Top-Boxes.
9. Is Uganda on track to meeting the 2014 deadline?

Yes, we are on track to meeting the 2014 deadline. The government will keep the public updated including sharing information on any changes that may arise with respect to the deadline.
10. Will the government subsidize the price of the set top boxes so that the average Ugandan can afford it?

UCC to confirm this from the government.
11. With the new technology, will I be required to pay monthly subscriptions?

The digital broadcasting technology supports both free-to-air and subscription-based or pay TV. You will therefore not be required to pay any monthly subscriptions to access the channels you currently view at no cost.
Payment will only be made if you choose to subscribe to the pay-tv options.
12. Will I need a satellite dish to receive Digital Television?

No, you will not need a satellite dish to receive digital television. The satellite signal, which requires a satellite dish, is not the same as the signal used for digital broadcasting.
(B) Migration Technology

1. What is migration from Analogue to Digital Broadcasting?

Migration from analogue to digital broadcasting refers to the process in which the analogue TV broadcasting services are converted to and replaced by digital television broadcasting.
At the end of the migration period, the analogue broadcasting services are eventually broadcast in digital format while the analogue transmitters are switched off.
2. What is Digital Terrestrial Television (DTT)?

Digital broadcasting is the conversion of sound, video and text into digital data and subsequent transmission of the digitized data over television channels or assigned radio frequency bands for reception by the public. Sound, video and text are processed electronically and converted into digital format. This format is then transmitted and reconverted by appropriate receivers or set-top boxes into sound, text and video for display on TV set. Terrestrial denotes television broadcast using equipment situated on the ground rather than by satellite.
3. What is the difference between analogue TV and Digital TV?

Analogue and digital television differ in the way the information is carried from the source 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 eight (8) new standard definition TV (SDTV) programmes can be provided in the same frequency channel as one analogue TV channel.
4. Will I need to buy a new TV to receive DTT?

No, you do not need to buy a new TV if you already have an analogue TV. However, you will need to buy a set-top-box that complies with DVB-T2 transmission technology. Current TV sets should be able to receive DTT using the set-top-boxes.
Your TV must have audio and video inputs (A/V), or alternatively RF input so that your set-top-box can be plugged into your TV. With this, you should be able to use your current TV set. You do not need a High Definition (HD) TV, LCD TV or Plasma TV to receive DTT.
In countries which began migrating to digital broadcasting years back such as in Europe, integrated digital television receivers or idTVs (TVs with inbuilt digital tuners) are readily available in their markets. Although available in Uganda, these digital TV sets can be found in specific outlets but will gradually become widely available once digital terrestrial broadcasting takes root. It is also important to note that generally, the price of idTV (digital TV sets) tend to be higher than that of a Set-Top-Box (STB).
5. What equipment will be required to receive digital television?

You either need an integrated Digital Television (which has an inbuilt digital tuner) together with a UHF aerial OR an analogue TV set together with a digital set-top-box and a UHF aerial.
6. What is an integrated digital television receiver (idTV)?

This 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 and hence does not require digital set top box.
Consumers should be careful not to be duped by vendors in believing that all wide screen TVs are idTVs (digital TVs). You must confirm that it indeed has an inbuilt digital tuner.
7. Will consumers need to buy a new antenna, satellite dish or cabling?

To receive Digital TV, one needs a UHF antenna. Satellite dishes are not required. In the majority of cases, existing UHF antennas currently used to receive analogue TV will be adequate to receive digital television transmissions as long as they are maintained in good condition and are properly installed. They work better if installed on the rooftop where there is limited obstruction. The aerial should be oriented in the general direction of the digital TV transmitter tower.
8. Are digital TV sets in the market and where can I buy one?

Digital TVs are available in the market but only in specific outlets. However, if you already have an existing analogue TV, you do not need to buy another new TV specifically for reception of the new digital signal. All you need is a set-top-box.
Uganda Communications Commission (UCC) will endeavor to make information available on its website and other media channels regarding outlets which stock such products in Uganda once such information becomes available.
9. What is Standard Definition television (SDTV)?

Standard Definition television (SDTV) is a television whose display has a vertical and horizontal resolution of 640 x 480(NTSC) or 768 × 576(PAL)... The aspect ratio of SDTV is either 4:3 or 16:9.
10. What is a High Definition television (HDTV)?

High Definition Television (HDTV) is a television whose display resolution is higher than that of standard definition TV, offering high picture resolution and enhanced sound quality. There are 25 high-definition resolutions in use, 1280 x 720(720p) and 1920 x 1080(1080i and 1080p). A "Full HD” (1080p) display refers to a display with native resolution of 1920 x 1080.
11. How does the quality of SDTV compare to HDTV?

HDTV provides a sharper and more detailed picture/video than SDTV because in HDTV, more lines and pixels are used to scan the picture. These make the picture look sharper and more detailed to a viewer. However, perceptions of 'quality', as seen by the viewer, may be affected by other factors besides picture sharpness.
12. What is Multichannelling?

Because a digital signal can carry much more data than an analogue signal, more than one channel of television programmes can be broadcast at the same time. This is known as multichannelling.
13. What are programme enhancements?

Viewers of digital television will have a wide choice of 'enhancements' to regular programming. Enhancements are separate channels of video, data or audio, which are related to the programme on the primary channel. Sporting events will offer the choice of different camera angles, action replays, player profiles or other information.
Across a range of programming, digital viewers will have a choice to select more information related to the regular programme - product information, recipes, news background and much more. In addition, if a sports event overlaps with news, digital viewers may be offered the opportunity to watch the regularly scheduled news bulletin or the completion of the event on a separate channel.
14. What is Datacasting?
Because a digital signal can carry much more data than an analogue signal, the extra capacity can be used by broadcast service providers to provide other information services to viewers, in addition to regular programme channels. This is known as datacasting.
15. Can I use my DSTV dish to receive digital transmission?

No. DSTV dish can only receive satellite transmission. You need a UHF aerial to receive the digital terrestrial TV transmission.
16. Will my old Multichoice/Mnet analogue decoder work with this technology? Will my existing boosted aerial still work?

Your old multichoice decoder will not work with this new technology because it is a satellite decoder for satellite reception. What you need is a DVB-T2 set-top-box to receive the new digital TV signal. If you already have a UHF TV antenna, all you need is to point it towards the transmitting site (i.e. Kololo for the case of those in Kampala).
17. As we migrate to digital TV, is there new technology to access programmes via a password/code to restrict or block viewing nudity and indecency in my house using the TV remote control?

The technology being introduced has the capability for one to maneouvre around the programmes you want to watch by using an interface called conditional access. However, conditional access will not apply on free-to-air channels. However, some of the features of set-top-boxes include parental control in which case certain channels can be programmed to be accessible only by inputting a password using the remote control.
Regarding the issue of inappropriate content, UCC will issue a programming code for broadcasters which upon gazettement shall be the basis of content regulation. Once in force, free-to-air broadcasters will have to adhere to its provisions and action will be taken against those flouting the code.
18. How many TV channels can I receive with my set-top box?

Your set-top-box should receive all the free-to-air and subscription channels being transmitted in your locality by broadcast signal distributors who may commence services in the area.
However, access to subscription channels shall be limited to consumers who have subscribed to the pay TV service.
19. Should someone using a computer with TV card buy a set top box?
If you are using a TV card to receive programmes from the existing TV stations, it means that the TV card has an analogue TV tuner. In this regard, you will not be able to receive the digital signal on your computer. What you need then is a DVB-T2 MPEG4 TV tuner card (together with the relevant software) otherwise if you have to continue using your current analogue TV card, then you will need to have a set top box as well (to convert the digital signal into analogue for your card to understand) in order to receive the digital signal on your computer.
20. Can I view both DSTV programmes and Digital signals on the same TV set?

Yes, but not at the same time. To view DSTV programmes on your TV set, you must first have a valid subscription, a DSTV satellite dish and a DSTV decoder duly installed. In the case of DTT, you should have a DVB-T2 MPEG-4 digital set top box and a UHF TV aerial.
21. What is DVB-T2?

DVB-T2 is an abbreviation for Digital Video Broadcasting – Second Generation Terrestrial. This system transmits compressed digital audio, video, and other data. With higher bit rate offered, compared to its predecessor DVB-T, it is a suitable system for carrying more SDTV, HDTV, mobile TV and other multimedia signals on the terrestrial TV channel. It is currently deployed in UK (Free view HD, four channels), Italy (Europe 7 HD, twelve channels) and since November 1, 2010 in Sweden (five channels).
(C) Set-Top-Boxes

1. What is a set-top-box?

It’s a receiver that decodes or converts the digital signal to analogue to enable the channels to be displayed on your analogue TV set. This set-top-box is plugged into your TV set.
The DTT set-top-box (also referred to as a decoder or converter box) is however not the same as the existing satellite or terrestrial-based pay TV service decoders. Analogue television sets cannot display digital transmissions on their screens without being connected to such a set-top box converter.
2. What does a set-top-box do?

A set top box receives the digital TV signal captured over the air by the aerial and converts the digital signal into a format that can be understood and displayed by an analogue TV. The features of a set-top-box are usually dependant on its specifications.
3. Why do I need a set-top-box?

It is the device that decodes the digital signal received via UHF aerial or antenna and supplies the TV set with the video signal. Without the set-top-box you will be unable to display the digital TV services on your analogue TV set.
4. What are the specifications for the right set-top-box?

The platform for analogue to digital TV migration that has been adopted in Uganda is DVB-T2.
5. Do I need an outdoor aerial for my set-top-box to receive digital signals?

Yes. You need a UHF aerial facing the direction of the digital transmitter tower (Kololo for those in Kampala).
6. If I have two TV sets, can I connect my set-top-box so that each receives its own digital TV Channel?

No. You cannot use one set-top-box to receive more than one programme at a time.
Each TV set requires a set-top-box. However, with time there could be some products available in the market that enable splitting the signal, thereby facilitating sharing.
7. Can my 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.
8. How do I connect my set-top-box to the TV set if my TV does not have AV terminals?

Before buying a DVB-T2 set-top-box you need to know what type of inputs your TV supports so as to know the type of set-top-box to buy. Set top boxes also have RF modulator output port which then can be used to connect to the TV RF in.
9. Do I need to pay monthly subscriptions with my set-top-box to watch programmes?

No, you don't have to pay monthly subscriptions to watch free-to-air programmes.
Subscription is necessary when accessing Pay TV channels.
10. Are there set-top-boxes in the market, and if so where?

Yes, there are DVB-T2 set top boxes in the local market particularly Pay TV subscription shops. As they sell decoders, many of these outlets are encouraging customers to buy set top boxes along with their purchases, which you need to purchase to avoid interruption after 2014.
Make sure that the set-top-box you purchase is of the DVB-T2 specification.
11. Can my plasma digital screen receive the digital signal without the set-top-box?

No, unless the plasma is an integrated TV receiver (has an inbuilt digital decoder) that is DVB-T2.
12. Is there limitation on the age of the analogue TV that can be used with the set-top-box?

The age of the analogue TV is not a factor. As long as your TV has AV input, you should use it with a set top box. You can also use the RF output of the STB to connect to the RF IN of the TV. More importantly, follow your user manual instructions which are simple to implement.
13. If I have an integrated TV set or a set-top-box from say America or Japan will it work with the platform?

No. It will not work. The Uganda platform is a DVB-T2 system. The ITV from America is ATSC system while the Japanese one is ISDBT system. We don’t have multisystem Digital TVs or STBs yet.
14. What is the price of a DVB-T2 set-top-box?

The price should range between UGX50,000 and UGX100,000 (UCC to confirm the price) depending on the set-top-box brand.
15. Which is the preferred brand of set-top-box?

The market forces will determine the best brand. Also your preference on the services you enjoy will determine your set-top-box choice.
Uganda Communications Commission only specifies the minimum specifications for the DVB-T2 set-top-box box which will be availed on the UCC website and other media platforms.
16. Will I be able to use my VCR, DVD player and camcorder with a Digital TV set or High Definition TV (HDTV)?

HDTV and DTV sets are "backward compatible,” meaning existing analogue equipment (VCRs, DVD players, camcorders, video games, etc.) will work on digital TV sets, but not in high definition. Their video will be displayed in the maximum resolution that is available with each product.
(D) Signal Reception

1. I have connected my set-top-box but I can only receive sound and a picture that freezes then disappears. What could be the problem?

The level of the digital signal you are receiving is very low. You may need to improve your aerial system by using a booster or increasing the height of the aerial and ensuring it is pointing in the correct direction where the digital signal is being transmitted from.
2. I have connected my set-top-box to the TV set as recommended but there is no signal at all.

We provide some tips below that can assist in trouble shooting. However, it is recommended that you consult the user manual of the set-top-box;
  • Ensure there is communication between your set-top-box and the TV set by selecting the AV mode.
  • Ensure that your outdoor aerial is well connected and preferably installed on the rooftop and pointing in the direction of the digital transmission tower.
  • Ensure both the TV set and the set-top-box are powered.
  • Try changing the position of the aerial especially if there is obstruction between the aerial and the digital transmission site.
3. How Can I know if my current TV is analogue or digital?

What differentiates a TV receiver is the type of tuner it has. Almost all TV receivers in the country have analogue tuners (PAL B or G). A digital TV has a digital tuner and cannot receive TV programmes broadcast in analogue format. If you are currently receiving the local free to air TV channels on your current TV without using a Set-Top-Box, then it means your TV tuner is analogue because the local TV stations are currently transmitting in analogue format. You can also consult your TV user manual and if you need further assistance to determine the type of tuner your TV has, consult the secretariat.
4. Do I still need to use my TV aerial when I acquire a set-top-box?
Yes, you still need an aerial in order to be able to capture the digital TV signal in the air. The set top box is not a replacement for the TV aerial. The cable from the aerial will need to be plucked into the set top box for it to receive the DTT signal. Since DTT will be rolled out in the UHF band, viewers who have been using VHF TV aerial will need to acquire a UHF aerial and point it in the direction of the DTT transmitter in order to obtain a clear signal. Information shall be provided on continual basis regarding which direction viewers in particular areas need to point their aerials in order to receive good signal, as the service becomes available in those areas.
(E) More information

1. What would you say is the level of awareness among ordinary folks and are there plans for campaigns to further entrench the idea among all Ugandans?
Awareness levels right now are not so high because we only recently launched the platform. However, UCC has plans in place to carry out a public awareness campaign using all media platforms (both print and electronic) educating the public regarding digital migration. This is expected to go on until the country is fully migrated. The Commission will continue to set a budget for consumer education and awareness campaigns as the digital broadcasting services are rolled out.
The Commission has provided contacts to which enquiries regarding digital broadcasting are forwarded. Enquiries can be sent to the Commission on the following platforms and they will be addressed promptly.
Phone: 0800133911
Email: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
Website: www.ucc.co.ug
Facebook: www.facebook.com/GoDigital-UG
Twitter: @GoDigital-UG
A major consumer education (through print, electronic media, road shows, etc) is to be launched to run in tandem with rollout of the digital platform. The necessary budgets have been secured and campaigns will commence once other related logistics are finalized.
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