Malaysia to turn off analogue TV completely on 31 Oct

The Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) has announced a complete switchover from analogue TV to digital TV on the 31st October 2019. This marks a new era for the broadcast industry in Malaysia.

The nationwide transition to digital TV was announced last month following a successful Analogue Switch Off (ASO) that took place in Langkawi in July. Based on the original plan, the transition had already begun in all peninsular states starting from the central and southern region on 19th August while Sabah and Sarawak will commence transition from 30th September 2019.

Below are the switchover dates according to MCMC’s latest announcement:

TerritorySwitchover Date
Central and Southern30 Sept 2019
North and East14 Oct 2019
Sabah and Sarawak31 Oct 2019

With digital TV via the myFreeView service, Malaysians can enjoy 15 TV channels and 6 radio channels at a higher quality. This includes RTM, Media Prima, AlHijrah and Bernama News Channel (BNC). More channels will be added to the myFreeView platform in the near future.

For those who have not switched to digital TV, you’ll need to do one of the following by end of next month:

  1. Obtain decoder and Ultra High Frequency (UHF) aerial, install them to existing TV sets (that don’t support Digital TV); or
  2. Obtain an Integrated Digital TV (IDTV) equipped with a decoder and connect them to a UHF aerial Analog.

Apart from improving broadcast quality, the switch from analogue to digital will also free up the 700MHz spectrum for mobile connectivity. When it is utilised for 4G LTE, the 700MHz spectrum offers up to 12 times the coverage compared to 1800MHz. The lower band allows it to penetrate buildings and walls better compared to higher LTE bands. Analogue TV broadcast itself is very inefficient and the spectrum used to broadcast one analogue channel can be used for 10 channels in digital format.

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For more information, you can check out MyFreeView’s website.

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Alexander Wong