SINGAPORE: The government will announce help schemes for the needy and low—income households to switch to digital television next year.
Communications and Information Minister Dr Yaacob Ibrahim said this as he outlined his ministry’s Budget 2013 initiatives.
At the end of this year, media company MediaCorp will start transiting to digital broadcasting, with all its seven free—to—air channels completing the switch by 2016.
Authorities are also working with retailers to help consumers migrate to high—definition viewing.
Consumer labels will be stuck on new digital television (DTV) sets coming into the market. DTVs are expected to hit Singapore shores from April 2013.
They will be able to support stereo sound or surround sound with a home theatre system.
Dr Yaacob said: "Digital TV will enhance our viewing experience. At the same time, going digital will free up spectrum that can be reallocated for better and faster wireless services for our public and businesses.
"We will not forget the needy households who may need assistance with the switch over. The Media Development Authority (MDA) is looking at ways to assist them. We expect to finalise and ready these plans in 2014.
"We recognise the important role that TV broadcast plays and I would like to assure the House that MDA is working to ensure that all Singaporeans can benefit from our free—to—air digital programming."
DTV Advisor at Audio House, Daniel Neo said: "This is something new to change into digital for the whole Singapore, so there is sure a lot of people not aware of it, so actually we can advise them to get either, if let’s say they want to get the new TV, of course they can get the in—built digital tuner TV."
Existing SingTel or StarHub cable television subscribers have already made the switch to receiving digital broadcasts.
Non—subscribers have to spend about S$60 to S$100 to get a digital set—top box and antenna to make the switch.
Many existing televisions can display high—definition images from digital broadcasting.
Analogue broadcasts will continue for at least two years till 2015.
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