South Africa is on the fast track when it comes to catching up with – and sometimes surpassing – the rest of the world when it comes to embracing cutting-edge technology.
The country is already poised to leapfrog the first world by harnessing the benefits offered by next generation electronic identification communications, and it is also gearing up to rapidly adopt digital television in the form of High Definition (HD) TV.
HDTV is the highest quality format in digital television which offers improved transmission, better resolution and colour as well as superb surround sound. And electronics giant Philips is taking a leading role to develop and roll-out HDTV in the country.
The rapid development of digital technology and digital convergence has led to some remarkable advances in the quality of audio and video broadcast, with digital television being perhaps one of the most exciting of these advances.
It is inevitable that HDTV will become the successor to analog TV, and it is currently being adopted widely around the world.
HDTV uses the latest technology to bring clearer and sharper television pictures to your home, offering up to five times sharper picture quality than current standard definition (SD) TV sets.
Philips has been a pioneer in both analogue and digital TV technology and has already developed many innovative picture-quality improvements over the years, many of which have been adopted almost universally by the TV industry.
Two recent, major steps towards improved picture quality have been the development of flat-panel displays and Pixel Plus. Pixel Plus technology improves colour reproduction and increases resolution, picture depth and contrast ratio by up to 30%, resulting in extremely fine colour details with a superior brilliance while flat-panel displays offer excellent resolution, perfect motion sharpness and superb contrast.
When combined, they enable near “high-definition” picture quality from standard TV transmission.
Philips is also a world leader when it comes to developing HDTV-capable, widescreen, flat-panel TV sets with multi-channel sound.
While many of Philips’ HDTV-capable products are currently available in South Africa, the country’s broadcasters do not yet transmit HD content.
HDTV requires about four times more bandwidth than Standard Definition (SD) TV, and to date, there has been a lack of sufficient bandwidth in the country.
However, SABC television expects to be creating and broadcasting HD-compatible content within the next four years, in time for the 2010 FIFA World Cup, to be held in South Africa.
The roll-out of HDTV takes time but the creation of infrastructure and enabling criteria to facilitate the transition from analog to digital in the free-to-air services is already underway.