DVB-T2 in South Africa - a year later

It is a year since I started to have a look at the digital TV transmissions in Stellenbosch. Initially I used a PCTV Systems DVB-T2 290e to receive the transmissions on my computer under the Linux operating system.

Recently I acquired a DVB-T2 set top box (STB) from eBay. As this STB is made in china the quality is not that good. It is however good enough to receive our DVB transmissions.

After plugging in the STB I was surprised to see that there are more TV channels available than previously. Except for SABC and eTV, it is mostly test and local channels. The list of radio channels are still the same.

The image quality differs a lot between the channels, and none uses HD yet. The STB and PCTV stick are both struggling more to keep a lock on the signal since these extra channels were added. Perhaps due to less FEC or worse SNR. Even a good signal strength and quality (>90% according to the STB) would sometimes just lose lock.

What the audio is concerned, the volume is different between all channels. This is extremely irritating as one now needs to change the volume on your TV every time you change channel. Some channels have nice clear stereo audio, whereas others have mono. A few channels' audio are over modulated and clips.

In short, a signal strength that would have given good audio and video on analog transmissions now could sometimes give you irritating video break up and bad audio.

Update 2013-06-25

Since I have the STB, only eTV had EPG data. The SABC channels seemed to be off the air yesterday evening. Tonight they are back, including EPG data for the coming week.

Update 2013-06-25

An SABC HD stream was being broadcasted for a while now, but it had a black image without any audio. In the past week I realised they started transmitting video on the channel.

The codec information for the SABC HD channel is as follows:

One can compare this to the codec info for the normal SABC2 SD channel:

As can be seen the HD channel is transmitted in full HD. A different audio codec is also used for the HD channel than for the SD channels. Hopefully this codec will give better audio quality than what is being transmitted on the SD channels.