Yaacob Ibrahim, Digital transmission

Budget 2013: New label for TVs which can receive upcoming free-to-air digital signals

From next month, consumers will be able to tell from a special label if a new television set can support the upcoming digital TV signals for free-to-air channels which will be broadcasted from the end of this year. This was announced in the Singapore Budget 2013 on Friday.

To receive the digital signals, viewers will need to upgrade their existing TVs with a set-top box or purchase Integrated Digital TVs, also known as IDTVs. Compatible set-top boxes will also carry similar labels as the IDTVs.

Pay TV subscribers will be able to receive the digital broadcasts without buying any extra equipment.

Analog signals will continue to run simultaneously for at least another two years, Minister for Communications and Information Yaacob Ibrahim announced during the debate on the Budget of the Ministry of Communications and Information.

"We will ensure sufficient time for households to make the digital transition," he said.

While retailers here are already selling IDTVs, most are not compatible with the new generation digital video broadcasting-terrestrial 2, or DVB-T2, signals which Singapore has adopted.

Compatible ones, which have a built-in tuner to receive the DVB-T2 signals, will be be rolled out at major retail outlets here from April this year.

Digital transmission allow broadcasters to send more signals more efficiently, enabling viewers to receive more high-definition channels. They also free up "spectrum", or airwaves for other uses such as carrying Internet data to smartphones.