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Langkawi adapts myFreeview Digital TV, to make way for 5G

Langkawi has become the first district in Malaysia to switch off Analogue TV and migrate to Digital TV called myFreeview.

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The Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) in a media statement said that a pilot digital switchover from analogue to Digital Terrestrial Television broadcasting (DTTB) occurred at 2.30am, Sunday (21 July) in Gunung Raya, Langkawi.

Additionally, in collaboration with the private broadcasters, MCMC said it will conduct a “comprehensive test run” and study as part of the digital switchover or Analogue Switch Off (ASO) pilot project for the next two (2) weeks in Langkawi.

Subsequently, the Minister of Communications and Multimedia YB Gobind Singh Deo is said to launch the nationwide DTTB Analogue Switch Off (ASO), at a later date.

The current free to air Analog TV services operates in the UHF band IV & V (470-798 MHz). It is believed that the new Digital TV (DVB-T2) services operates in the 470MHz to 742MHz frequency bands (from frequency channels 5 to 12 and 21 to 54).

Under the previous BN-controlled Government, Analogue TV broadcast was originally supposed to cease its transmission by 31 December 2015. There are currently 6 terrestrial TV stations that are providing analogue free-to-air TV service; TV3, NTV7, 8TV, CH9 (four Private stations) and RTM1 and RTM2 (two Government stations) with nationwide transmission.

Currently, the myFreeview Digital TV platform is operated by MYTV Broadcasting Sdn Bhd (MYTV), a subsidiary of Puncak Semangat Sdn Bhd (Altel) which is part of the AlBukhary Group of Companies, controlled by Tan Sri Syed Mokhtar Al-Bukhary.

As of April 2019, MYTV has distributed 1.6 million of the total two million free decoder units for eligible recipients, especially the lowest income B40 households.

MCMC said the Analogue Switch Off (ASO) is one of the crucial efforts by the Government to drive the nation towards digitalisation, as well as to gain digital dividends from the use of the 700MHz spectrum to further enable other services such as wireless broadband communications like 5G. At the moment, MCMC is seeking feedback from the public on mobile broadband service using the 700Mhz frequency band.

The switchover to DTTB allows the public to enjoy free channels via myFreeview, which claims to have covered 98% populated areas nationwide in Malaysia. myFreeview is the designated brand for Malaysia’s Free Digital Television DTT services, which currently offers 15 TV channels and six (6) radio channels from RTM, Media Prima, TV Alhijrah and Bernama News Channel, free of charge with no monthly subscription fees.

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Malaysians can receive the myFreeview digital TV broadcast by connecting a DVB-T2 decoder and Ultra High Frequency (UHF) aerial (TV Antenna) to an existing analog TV set. For users with a newer TV called IDTV (integrated digital television) that comes with a built-in decoder, they only need to connect it directly to a UHF aerial (TV Antenna) to receive the digital TV transmission.

A certified DVB-T2 decoder cost from RM89 (Green Packet branded) and up to RM187 (MYTV-Pensonic branded).

About Kugan

Kugan is the founder of MalaysianWireless. He has been observing the mobile industry since 2003. Connect with him on Twitter: @scamboy