Ghana has introduced minimum specifications for receivers of its free to air digital terrestrial television (DTT) ahead of its 2014 deadline for the transition of television broadcasting services from analogue to digital technology.
The country's National Communications Authority (NCA) developed the minimum specifications for local television stations as part of its mandate to establish and monitor the implementation of national ommunications standards and ensure compliance accordingly.
Television stations are required to migrate from analogue to a digital platform in accordance with the Geneva 2006 (GE06) Agreement of the International Telecommunications Union (ITU).
Digital Terrestrial Television (DTT) offers improved spectrum efficiency compared to analogue TV.
It also offers enhanced video and audio quality, interactivity, as well as increased programme choices.
The minimum specifications aim to also ensure that DTT receivers provide good quality video and sound for viewers and give the lowest possible cost for free-to-air receivers.
The NCA will also ensure that all DTT sold on the Ghanaian market conforms to the minimum receiver specifications.
"Digital TV sets sold in Ghana shall pass a conformance test in order to obtain the 'Digital Ghana Thumb', which has been developed as a certification mark to help consumers and retailers through switchover," Paarock Vanpercy, Director General of NCA said in a statement on Tuesday.
Initially the DTT service will be available in parallel with the existing analogue service. However, the analogue TV network will be switched off in phases starting from December 2014.
During the digital television transition, viewers will require TV sets with the capability of receiving digital television signals transmitted according to the approved standards - that is integrated digital TV (iDTV) sets.
Viewers whose TV sets are only able to receive analogue signals will need to use special digital adapters, known as set-top boxes (STBs), which have the primary function of converting digital input to analogue output signals.
With immediate effect, the NCA has directed that there shall be no manufacture, assembly, importation, marketing or sale of a set-top box (STB) for Digital Terrestrial Television which does not conform to the requirements specified.