With calls from the Opposition Jamaica Labour Party to set a definite timeline for the Digital Switchover (DSO), talks have resumed whether or not Jamaica will be ready for the Government’s proposed 2015 deadline.
The DSO, also called the digital television transition or analogue switch-off,refers to the process by which nations will stop delivering broadcast, cable and satellite content using analogue technology. Instead content will be delivered via digital signal delivering improved images and sound. To date, the digital TV transition has already commenced in over 50 countries including Japan, Italy, France and the United Kingdom.
So what does the analogue to digital switch mean for consumers? Analogue signals require antennae unlike digital TVs which have integrated digital tuners and monitors to display the programming. Televisions that are not equipped with digital tuners will be rendered useless after the switch.
“With the throes of the holiday season in full swing, electronics, particularly TV’s are hot ticket items. If getting a new television is on your wish list and with a switchover likely in the next few years, consumers must be wary not to expend funds on sets that are not compatible with digital signals” said Home Product Manager at Appliance Traders Limited (ATL) Stacey Campbell.
In April this year, Minister with responsibility for information Sandra Falconer said that Jamaica has begun to make sure footed strides and would be moving towards the digital switchover in 2015, completing a process that has been in train since 2003.
The 44 year retailer which carries Panasonic Viera models as well the new Samsung Smart series televisions says they are well prepared for the transition. “Our customers can be assured that current stock is completely digital. When you buy a unit from ATL, you don’t have to worry that in 3 years you will need a new TV. We monitor activities in the international markets to make sure our customers are getting the latest and the best,” said Campbell.
Campbell’s mentioned that consumers shopping for digitally compatible televisions this holiday should note that TV’s should be marked or labelled to indicate if they have a built-in digital tuner, “It may say something like DTV, HDTV, ATSC, Digital Tuner, Digital Receiver, Integrated Digital Tuner or Digital Tuner Built In. Without a digital tuner, those TVs will need a set-top converter box to get a digital picture. If there is no indication of a digital tuner on the TV set itself, check the owner’s manual” she said, “Shop carefully. Speak with a well-informed sales person and always research the unit before you purchase.”
Kelly Tomblin CEO of JPSco (Centre) with our Deputy Chairman , Adam Stewart (Left) and our Assistant Deputy Chairman, Ian Neita (Right). Stay tuned for some exciting news!
“The thought crossed my mind several times if we would ever see shore again,” recounted Jeffery Mumby, Senior Electrician at Appliance Traders Limited (ATL).
Called out to sea, Mumby and fellow technician Fabian Powell responded to an unusual service request for a customer some one hundred and fifty miles offshore at Pedro Cay. “A client had reported some difficulties with a diesel generator so we were dispatched to go and fix it. Our team boasts island-wide service but seeing that this was an offshore job, it was outside our usual parameters. Nevertheless, we were on-board and willing to render assistance. Neither of us had ever been to Pedro Cay before so we were excited to go,” said Jeffery.
After boarding a fishing boat at Rocky Point, Clarendon early Saturday morning, the duo made port five hours later at Middle Cay, an area largely inhabited by fisher folk. “We located the client soon after docking and immediately proceeded to repair the unit. There is no wired electricity on Cay and the customer used the generator to power cold storage units so we had to work quickly; finishing the job in just under two hours,” explained Fabian.
At four pm the men gathered their things in preparation to return to shore but were told that no boats are available for at least not for another day or two. Stranded without provisions or means to communicate with anyone, their thoughts turn quickly to fear and anxiety. “We were marooned on the Cay without much of anything, just our toolboxes,” said Fabian. “We were only scheduled to be there a few hours so when we heard that it would be for a few days – we simply were not prepared.”
Upon hearing the plight of the men, a Pedro Cay resident identified as Miss Sandra offered them food and lodging till daylight. But the morning bore no resolve. Time drudged on wearily and on Sunday 5pm, the peak of their 30th hour as ‘castaways’, the men got news that a boat was destined for shore. Rearing to go home, the men accepted the offer to head inland.
Fate however, would not make the return trip an easy one for the men as they spent an arduous 14 hours afloat on the high seas in a small dinghy. “Just when we thought things were looking up, we were in for a terrible awakening. What should have been a 5-hour trip was almost tripled because of turbulent sea conditions,” said Jeffery. “It was terrifying – spending the entire night out in the pitch black unknown and constantly worrying if we’d make it home in one piece,” Drenched and ravaged from sea sickness, daylight finally broke and at 7:30am on Monday, their third day offshore, the men finally made it back to mainland shore.
An unscripted and almost unbelievable tale, the men recounted it with mixed reactions citing both trials and triumphs. “I’ve worked with ATL for almost 13 years and this by far has been my most memorable site visit to date” said Jeffery with a chuckle. “How many technicians or companies you know would travel that distance by boat and end up in a situation like ours to make a customer happy? That’s taking things to a whole new level of service?”
And indeed the men have set a new benchmark of customer service at the company quipped Assistant Deputy Chairman of the ATL Group Ian Neita, “Our Chairman always says we should give the client more than he or she expects but this was a task bigger than all could have anticipated. It’s important that we not only say we’re unbeatable but demonstrate it at every opportunity. Jeffery and Fabian embody the ATL unbeatable spirit and we’re very proud of them for going above and beyond the extra mile. They earned not only the praise of a happy customer all the way in Pedro Cay but also the praise of all us in the ATL Group. They proved that there are no limitations to quality service.”
Definitely one for the history books, Fabian also agreed that that the trip though eventful was definitely worth it. “In the end, what mattered most of all is that we were safe and that we were able to help a customer. But I can’t say I would be up for a boat travel any time soon.” he chuckled.