IMPALA welcomes inclusion of MHEG-5 in South Africa DTT trial

Monday, February 2nd, 2009

LONDON, UK — IMPALA, the International MHEG Promotion Alliance, is pleased to confirm the inclusion of MHEG-5, the globally successful interactive TV middleware, as a key part of the recently started DTT trial in South Africa. The DTT trial – which began in November – is designed to test a variety of technical factors.

Lara Kantor, Chairperson of The Digital Dzonga Advisory Council – set up to advise and oversee the process of migrating South Africa’s analogue system to digital – says, “Subject to successful testing and development of the profile to meet the needs of the South African market, it is our intention to use MHEG for DTT in SA.” Currently a group brought together by the free-to-air broadcasters running the DTT trial is working on the specification of a suitable MHEG Profile for the market. A commercial launch is planned for later this year.

At the launch of the trial Gab Mampone, Acting Group Executive of SABC, said, “This is an exciting time for South African TV viewers and the SABC is playing a leading role in the trial broadcast. The trial is an important milestone in the process of switching South African television viewers over to digital and is a critical phase in the in preparation for making DTT services available to the public.”

MHEG-5 is a public standard with country or region-specific profiles and has an industry-proven test and conformance regime ensuring compliance over vast supply chain of manufacturers providing various products ranging from basic STBs, iDTVs to PVRs and hybrid devices. Both free-to-air and pay-TV broadcasters are now looking into and deploying MHEG-5 as a low-cost middleware solution for rollout over terrestrial, satellite and cable platforms.

IMPALA’s role is to provide guidance and advice to ensure the standard is adopted and implemented correctly and to expand its reach globally.
Giri Valliappan, Director of Market Development with IMPALA, adds, “MHEG’s international reach continues to expand and we are very pleased to see its inclusion in this trial. As the move to digital terrestrial continues globally we expect significant further announcements this year.”

The founder members of IMPALA are Strategy & Technology (S&T), Cabot Communications and EchoStar Europe.