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LETTER OF THE DAY - Many TV sets will be 'switched off' in 2015

Published:Wednesday | February 20, 2013 | 12:00 AM


FOR THE most part, the Jamaican consumer is uneducated and misinformed about his/her rights. Added to this our consumer protection agencies are lacklustre and short of resources, thus greatly hampering their obligations to the consumer. Consequently, the Jamaican consumer continues to be taken advantage of by those among us who provide goods and services.

Recently, I was informed by a sales representative at a major appliance store that anyone with an analogue television two years from now will be "switched off". The term switch off here means the support for analogue transmission will be stopped, allowing only digital transmission in 2015. What is going to happen to those of us who have analogue TVs? More Jamaicans, I suspect, have analogue television sets than digital.

Freeing up space

Digital Television (DTV) frees up parts of the broadcast spectrum. By so doing it allows for public safety communications. Here Jamaica could benefit immensely by having our police and fire department on the broadcast spectrum. There is also a great opportunity to increase the players in the cable industry as the spectrum space can be auctioned off to subscriber television operators.

The International Telecommunications Union (ITU) at a regional conference in 2006 established 2015 as the date for the analogue switch off. However, despite this many of our leading appliance stores in Jamaica are still selling analogue televisions to unsuspecting and unaware consumers. This is a most underhanded and wicked practice, especially in light of the high cost for televisions, more so flat screens TVs. It is time our consumer protection agencies begin a public education campaign to inform the society why it is imperative they purchase only digital televisions. An audit should be done also at these business places which are selling analogue televisions and urge them to cease and desist from doing so.

Not many Jamaicans are aware that come 2015 their analogue televisions will be switched off.

Digital transmission

The international community is moving to digital transmission for many reasons. Digital transmission allows for better use of available frequency resources, allowing other services such as Wi-Fi access to be transmitted over the same airwaves.

Second, digital transmission provides for better television viewing experience as it provides crystal-clear pictures and superior audio quality. Finally, digital transmission adds the ability for interactive television and multiple programming choices, called multicasting.