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Tech Guides

What is DVB-T2 & why should I care?

By Ng Chong Seng - 26 Jun 2017

What equipment do I need to receive digital TV?

OK, I’m ready. What do I need to buy?

First of all, if you’re a pay-TV subscriber (e.g., Singtel TV, StarHub TV), you’re all set. The respective set-top box that you’re using with your pay-TV service already allows you to watch Mediacorp channels in digital format. However, if you’ve an SD set-top box, you may want to upgrade to an HD-capable one in order to watch the HD channels. (By the way, StarHub sends DVB-C signals.)

For free-to-air or over-the-air channels (i.e., if you aren’t a pay-TV subscriber), there are a couple of ways to receive digital TV:

 

1. Get a DVB-T2 set-top box & an indoor (or outdoor) antenna

IMDA-approved DVB-T2 set-top boxes can be found at major electronic stores and they're usually bundled with an indoor antenna. Prices range from S$95 to S$129.

There are also many enthusiasts who source their own set-top box/antenna (some even went as far as to DIY their own antenna). One of the main reasons is to save cost. For example, a China-made DVB-T2 set-top box can often be had for around S$50. Of course, there’s always the risk of compatibility, warranty, and even safety issues if you decide to go down this path. So, you’ve been warned.

Other equipment required will be a 75-ohm coaxial cable and an HDMI cable. Also, if you’ve multiple TVs in your house, you need to get a set-top box/antenna combo for each TV set.

The Draco HDT2-7300 is a set-top box that supports Singapore’s DVB-T2 channels in stereo​ sound. (Image source: Skycom Satellite Systems.)

The Akira HDVB-T2A1 is a set-top box that supports Singapore’s DVB-T2 channels in surround sound when connected to a home theater system​. (Image source: Akira.)

 

2. Get a TV with built-in DVB-T2 tuner & an antenna

Your existing TV may be compatible with DVB-T, but not DVB-T2. A simple way to know that is when you see that it receives Channel 5 in HD (which is broadcast in both DVB-T and DVB-T2), but not Channel 8, Suria, or Vasantham in HD (because they’re broadcast in DVB-T2 only).

TVs with an integrated DVB-T2 tuner (a.k.a. IDTVs) are already in the market since mid 2013. For a start, you can refer to IMDA’s list of such set-top boxes and IDTVs. For TVs especially, this list may not be comprehensive, since there are always new models being launched. To know about the latest models, you can keep your eyes peeled on HardwareZone, or check out our very active forums. Remember, you still need an indoor antenna, because the HDB rooftop master antenna can't be used for receiving digital signals. And in case you're wondering, it's no use connecting to the StarHub TV cable point either, since it sends analog and DVB-C signals meant for StarHub's set-top boxes. Regarding digital indoor antennas, the Daiyo EU1702 is well regarded by our forum members.

If you're staying on landed property or in a commercial building, you may be able to use your existing rooftop antenna, especially if you're already using it to current UHF channels.

For some tips on using an UHF antenna, placement of indoor antenna, tuning, and more info, you can check out Mediacorp's guide and FAQ, which go into details like the difference between an active and a passive antenna.

The Daiyo EU1702 indoor antenna can be found in megastores like Best Denki and Courts.

 

What else must I take note of?

Whether you’re buying a set-top box or IDTV, there are two labels to look out for. Either one of these labels indicates that the product complies with Singapore’s receiver specifications, and is suitable for use to receive Mediacorp’s digital channels.

If you see this label, it means that the product supports Singapore’s DVB-T2 channels in stereo sound.

If you see this label, it means that the product supports Singapore’s DVB-T2 channels in surround sound. Of course, to enjoy surround sound, you also need the correct equipment, such as a home theater system with surround speakers.

To help low income households transition to digital TV, there’s also an assistance scheme available, which kicked off in September 2014. More information on eligibility criteria and application procedure can be found on IMDA’s website.

Have more questions or want to share your experiences? You know where to head to.