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.”