ASEAN member countries have been collectively aiming for Analogue Switch-Off (ASO) in phases between 2015 and 2020. To ensure signal harmonisation, countries with inter-connected borders including Malaysia, Thailand, Singapore, Indonesia and Brunei have agreed to a 2018 ASO target. Malaysia’s Digital Terrestrial Television (DTT) project falls under the purview of the Ministry of Communications and Multimedia Malaysia and is monitored by the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) as its regulating body. It is part of the national agenda to transform the country's broadcasting industry through digitisation with the aim of improving the living standards of Malaysians as the country gears up towards a developed nation status by 2020. It is also one of the key initiatives in the 11th Malaysia Plan (11MP).
- Better quality TV experience DTT offers a sharper, brighter picture, with reduced “ghosting” and interference as well as improved sound quality. DTT is not affected by the weather unlike satellite transmission. Rain or shine, viewers can enjoy uninterrupted viewing.
- More choices DTT can support more channels than analogue services. It can also offer more features such as electronic programme guides (EPG), multi-language subtitles and high definition quality television (HDTV). Viewers will enjoy more channels and features without having to pay monthly subscription fees.
- More connectivity DTT uses existing UHF aerials and does not require any cables to be laid or satellite dishes to be installed. Broadcast can be established quickly as it comes to viewers from nearby UHF transmitter stations, with telephone lines already in place to provide a return path for interactivity. DTT offers viewers access to interactive television services including home shopping, e-banking, e-government services and also access to basic internet services. By bridging the gap between those who have access to technology and those who don’t, DTT will connect the rural and remote communities within the country and help bridge the digital divide for all Malaysians.
- More choice, more interactivity As a digital signal uses less of the spectrum and more efficiently than the analogue signal, DTT will allow broadcasters to offer a wider range of new channels and interactive services. Coverage can also be shaped either locally, regionally or nationwide unlike with satellite, where it is hard to limit the coverage even within the country.
- New opportunities for growth Through its enhanced services and interactive features, DTT will offer broadcasters new opportunities, potential areas for growth and new revenue streams.
- Reduction of Infrastructure costs With DTT, a lower cost of capital expenditure can be expected, as there is no need to lay hybrid fibre coaxial cables, rent additional transponders or launch new satellites. With the reduction of infrastructure costs, broadcasters will be able to concentrate their financial resources on producing content. This will also encourage new players to enter the broadcasting industry including boutique channel owners who are looking to reach and connect with niche audiences. Since Malaysia is using the DVB – T2, the latest and most advanced digital technology available on the market, broadcasters will also be able to transmit to portable assets like cell phones, tablets and moving assets like television screens in trains, buses and cars (the next phase of DTT technology).
- Stimulating Economic growth, Job Creation By migrating to a digital platform, valuable spectrum is released that could be reallocated for other services such as next generation mobile broadband and telecommunication and wireless technology. DTT could also help to grow the economy by creating jobs and offering growth opportunities to the local content and creative industries.