SINGAPORE- Mr Phua Kok Hee suggested using either the national fibre network or HDB's rooftop antenna system to carry the new digital TV signals ("More questions on digital TV"; Dec 21).
We had considered the options raised by Mr Phua in implementing the terrestrial digital TV network for Singapore.
To watch MediaCorp's digital free-to-air (FTA) channels via the commercially run OpenNet fibre network, households will need to subscribe to a paid service provided by a pay-TV operator (SingTel mio TV or StarHub TV) where monthly charges apply.
The HDB rooftop master antenna television (MATV) system, on the other hand, was designed to receive analogue TV signals and is not able to receive digital TV signals.
Upgrading the MATV system is very costly and requires an overhaul of the wiring to the TV points in most homes.
The rewiring will be intrusive and cause inconvenience to households. Hence, HDB has no plans to upgrade the MATV system.
With the terrestrial digital TV network that MediaCorp is rolling out, households can watch FTA TV programmes in high definition without the need to pay monthly charges. They can do so by connecting either an integrated digital TV with built-in DVB-T2 tuner to an indoor antenna or, if their existing TV is not DVB-T2 compliant, to a DVB-T2 digital set-top box and an indoor antenna.
Households will encounter less inconvenience and more flexibility in placing their TV set without the need to search for a fixed TV point.
To reiterate, those already on pay-TV subscriptions do not have to do anything as their current set-top boxes are carrying the digital TV signals.
Mr Phua said that the quality of reception using an indoor antenna might be poor in HDB estates.
Digital TV signals are more robust than analogue TV signals, so indoor reception will be easier.
Nevertheless, MediaCorp is progressively rolling out a more comprehensive network of digital-TV transmitters over the next two to three years to enhance signal quality and coverage.
Indoor antennae also now come in compact forms such as a bar, frame, or rod and are commonly used to receive digital TV in other countries such as the United States, the Netherlands and Germany.
Ling Pek Ling (Ms)
Director (Digital Broadcasting Deployment Office)
Media Development Authority
Ng Yew Song
Director (Building Safety and Resources)
Housing and Development Board
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