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    Jan 22, 2016

    Analogue broadcasts to stop by end-2017

    THE authorities have pinned down when Singapore will pull the plug on analogue broadcasting - by end-2017.

    The move to digital broadcasting started in December 2013 when national broadcaster Mediacorp converted all seven of its free-to-air TV channels to digital format. It continued to broadcast in the analogue format but this will end by next year.

    Minister for Communications and Information, Yaacob Ibrahim, in his ministry's addendum to the President's Address yesterday, said: "The freed-up spectrum will provide more capacity for mobile broadband and better support for our smart nation development." The Government had said previously that analogue broadcasting could be turned off any time before 2020.

    To continue watching free-to-air television channels after the end of next year, viewers will need to buy and connect a digital set-top box and an indoor antenna to their existing TV sets. The equipment retails in shops for about $130.

    Many of the TV sets on sale today already come with a built-in digital tuner and antenna. To be sure, consumers should look out for a label issued by the Media Development Authority that indicates whether the TV, or set-top box, is compliant with Singapore's digital format.

    Singtel and StarHub pay-TV subscribers, whose platforms are already digital, need not do anything to prepare for the switch to digital broadcasting.

    To date, 21 housing estates, or 65 per cent of all households, can receive digital transmissions.