Analogue TV switched off in Langkawi, nationwide switchover to happen later

Analogue TV transmission has officially switched off in Langkawi as Malaysia is moving towards digital TV. The Analogue Switch Off (ASO) took place this morning at 2:30am and Langkawi residents have to switch to Digital Terrestrial Television Broadcast (DTTB) to continue watching free to air channels.

The digital switchover in Langkawi is seen as an Analogue Switch off pilot project before it is implemented nationwide. MCMC will work closely with private broadcasters to conduct a comprehensive test run and study for the next two weeks. According to Minister of Communications and Multimedia, Gobind Singh Deo, the nationwide DTTB ASO will be announced at a later date and this transition marks a new era of technological advancement in Malaysia’s broadcasting field.

The move from analogue to digital TV will free up the 700MHz spectrum which can be better utilised for wireless broadband communications such as 5G. Analogue TV transmission is very inefficient and the spectrum used to broadcast one analogue TV channel can be used for 10 channels in digital format.

The 700MHz spectrum can help to increase mobile wireless coverage as it can provide up to 12 times in coverage area than 1800MHz if it’s used for 4G LTE. In addition, the lower frequency signal also allows better building and wall penetration compared to higher frequency LTE bands.

With digital TV, the general public can enjoy 15 TV channels and 6 radio channels from RTM, Media Prima, TV Alhijrah and Bernama News Channel for free and in higher definition. At the moment, DTTB covers 98% of populated areas nationwide.

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Most new TVs have a built-in DVB-T2 decoder and you can start enjoying digital TV when it’s hooked up to an aerial UHF antenna. For older TVs, you’ll need a myFreeview digital TV decoder which is available online.

Earlier this year, it was announced that MYTV will be giving out 1.5 million free decoders for eligible recipients with priority given to lower-income groups. You can check if you’re eligible here.

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Alexander Wong