Jamaica is to start a phased one-year transition to digital broadcasting know-how, with the preliminary concentrate on the principle city centres as of January, 2022.
Broadcasters are to be allowed a minimum of one 12 months of simultaneous digital and analog broadcast to offer them time to vary their tools and check the brand new system.
“Analog change off is about for January 2023,” mentioned Info Minister, Fayval Williams, as she made the long-awaited announcement throughout a ministerial assertion within the Home of Representatives on Tuesday. She mentioned a committee has been established to handle the method.
The minister mentioned it’s to price the business between US$18 million and US$20 million for the switchover to be facilitated. On the identical time, she mentioned it ought to price households between $4,000 and $5,000 for a set prime field (cable field) for his or her tv units, to permit for the digital connection. She mentioned the set prime field can be a one-time funding.
“The 13-year look ahead to Jamaica to modify from having a lot of its inhabitants use rabbit ear antennas on their analog TVs will quickly be over… Jamaica joins the remainder of the world in starting the transition to digital TV,” Williams advised the Home.
She mentioned the change to digital comes with sure advantages.
“An important cause to make the change to a digital sign is as a result of it’ll unlock priceless parts of the published spectrum which might then be used for different functions, comparable to superior wi-fi companies, for devoted academic channels, public and security companies, and different purposes.
“For instance, broadcasters might dedicate among the extra capability to academic programmes for every stage throughout college hours with out interrupting their common programmes.
“It additionally signifies that Jamaicans who don’t have entry to getting TV content material by way of cable or the Web, will have the ability to get pleasure from extra channels with higher high quality with their over-the-air TV units when the change to digital is full,” Williams said.
Among the many requirements which were permitted by the committee that was set as much as facilitate the switchover are:
– Tv presentation format which can be excessive definition normal know-how
– Video compression know-how within the MPEG 4 format which might present twice as many programmes in a given transmission channel
– Transmission requirements would be the North American Normal which makes switchover simpler as many of the tv units in Jamaica are made in the USA.
The knowledge minister mentioned Jamaica can also be settled on a single multiplex operator for which an open, aggressive and clear course of is to start. She defined that multiplexing is the place a number of indicators are transmitted over a standard channel thus making your entire broadcast system “way more environment friendly”.
“A single multiplex system for all of the stakeholders within the broadcast business will considerably cut back the capital outlay that they every require to accommodate the digital switchover. So as a substitute of everybody placing up towers and antennas, they will utilise this one system. Such a reconfiguration of the business will end in elevated tv protection for all Jamaicans… there are nonetheless elements of the nation the place there isn’t any tv sign,” mentioned Williams.
The minister added that some 34 per cent or 255,000 households with as much as 765,000 Jamaicans have entry to over-the-air tv solely typically.
“This can be a watershed day for these 255,000 households,” she beamed.
Williams mentioned the switchover must also considerably cut back the price to broadcasters of tv content material, together with the price of electrical energy to energy the various towers, thus permitting them to develop protection to elements of the nation “that might by no means get protection in 100 years”.