The Ministry of Communication and Information will provide free converter sets to low income people so they can receive digital television broadcasts on their analog sets. It is a step in the government’s transition to a full digital signal by 2018.
“We are now proposing budget of Rp 300 billion ($31.8 million) to provide a free set top box,” Communication and Information Minister Tifatul Sembiring said on Monday at the Broadcast and Multimedia Show 2012.
A “set top box” is a signal converter device that changes digital broadcasts to analog, allowing older televisions to receive digital signals.
Indonesia is expected to fully migrate from analog to digital television by 2018.
Tifatul said that the price for a set top box was around Rp 135,000, but cheaper devices can be bought from vocational schools at Rp 85,000 per unit.
He said that the migration to a digital system could not be avoided as the analog system was simply outdated.
The government gave private-owned television and radio stations a maximum of seven years to convert to digital systems (from 2010 to 2017). In 2018, the government will permanently switch off the analog system.
“The life length of electronic device is three years at the maximum,” he said. “Within seven years [2010 to 2017], people should at least buy a television set once and shift to digital.”