Chinese media service and technology group, Star Times, has tipped African countries to ban importation of analogue television sets and instead remove duty on smart television sets to facilitate the switch to digital broadcasting.
Only five African countries have so far managed to switch off analogue to digital broadcasting.
President of Star Times, Pang Xinping, was speaking at the China Africa Digital Television conference in Beijing. Pang said African countries should move fast and catch up with the rest of the world by taking bold measures and introduce policies that aim at suppressing continued importation of analogue television sets at the time the world is moving in a different direction.
“In order to ensure quick migration from analogue to digital broadcasting, I advise African countries to remove taxes on smart television sets and stop importation and manufacturing of analogue television sets,” said Pang.
Malawi is expected to switch off analogue in phases starting from this month after several postponements. This is despite the country having the digital infrastructure and equipment already installed.
With digital broadcasting, television services are expected to reach the whole country due to signal availability through satellite while picture quality is expected to improve.
But digital broadcasting requires digital television sets to receive the signal and to ensure that those that have analogue television sets still have access the digitally broadcasting television service, government is selling set-top boxes (decoders) that convert the digital content for analogue television sets.
Meanwhile, Star Times is seeking a Digital Terrestrial Television licence in Malawi.