Warning over dramatic TV shift in South Africa

The South African Post Office has called on qualifying households to apply for a free set-top box as the country prepares to migrate to digital broadcasting by 31 March 2022.

The SAPO said that homes that apply before 1 November, will receive a decoder before the analogue television signal is switched off.

“Qualifying households should visit their local post office as soon as possible to apply for a free government-subsidised decoder – also called a set-top box. Qualifying households do not have to pay anything for the set-top box – it is free,” it said.

During the 2021 State of the Nation Address, president Cyril Ramaphosa announced that South Africa must complete the migration to digital broadcast by 31st March 2022. The analogue television signal will be switched off and only digital television transmissions will be broadcast.

Analogue television sets will then only work if they are connected to a decoder.

Qualifying households that apply before 1 November 2021 will receive a decoder before the analogue television signal is switched off.

All South African households with an income of R3,500 per month or less and a working television set qualify for a government-subsidised set-top box. Qualifying beneficiaries must visit their nearest Post Office branch as soon as possible with the following documentation:

  • A South African identity document.
  • Proof of address.
  • An affidavit to confirm that the family has a working television set.
  • A bank statement or affidavit to confirm that the family income is R3,500 per month or less. If you receive a SASSA grant, you do not need to bring proof of income. Proof that you receive a SASSA grant is enough.

The Post Office branches have standard affidavits that the applicants can use to declare their income, to confirm that they own a working television set, and to confirm their residential address. “You do not need to visit a police station to do an official affidavit before you go to the Post Office,” the state company stressed.

Once an application has been approved, the information is given to Sentech to appoint a local installer to install your set-top box, it said.

“The SA Post Office is aware that some families registered for a set-top box at the beginning of the campaign, but the installation has not been done yet. Installations are done per province and appointment of local installers is done by Sentech via local municipalities. There is no need to re-register to make sure you receive a set-top box.”

SAPO said that the quality of digital television broadcasts is better than an analogue signal, while  subsidised set-top box also provides a much wider selection of channels:

Television channels Radio channels
SABC 1 Radio 2000
SABC 2 Metro
SABC 3 Good Hope
SABC Education 04 Channel Africa
SABC Encore 5FM
SABC News Lesedi FM
Parliament Lotus
Africa Magic Epic Ukhozi
Mzanzi Bioskop SAFM
M Movies 4 Umhlobo
Mzanzi Wethu Thobela
S Sport Blitz Metsweding
SS Select sport Munghana Lonene
Discovery TLC Phalaphala
Disney JNR Ligwalagala
Nick Toons Ikwekwezi
Mzanzi Music Tru FM
Channel O X K FM
Mnet Go
790 CSN

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Warning over dramatic TV shift in South Africa