Explained: Migrating To Digital TV (Ghana Edition)

I think we all remember the big TVs with the protruding backsides?


Times have changed and now we’re surrounded by different types of televisions ranging from plasma TVs, LED TVs, 4K TVs, UHDTV etc.

You get the picture (no pun intended).

When we were using our old tube TVs, we were on an analog signal. Those TVs used antennas to get TV signals which enabled us to watch some of our favorite TV shows.

Now we’re living in a digital world and things are fast moving. Most of our homes don’t have those Tube TVs anymore. Most homes have DSTV decoders and other types of decoders to watch our TV shows. If you have one of those new digital flat screen TVs and you don’t have an antenna or a decoder, you’re out of luck when it comes to watching television.

But things are going to change soon.

Ghana will be migrating from Analogue to Digital Terrestrial Broadcasting some time next year (Previous dates were put at March and April 2016 but 2017 seems more likely).

So what exactly does that mean?

What is Digital TV Migration?

The digital migration or switchover is the process in which all forms of analog television broadcasting will be replaced by digital television.

That basically means if you have an “old” TV which uses antennas, you’re going to be out of luck when it comes to watching local channels like GTV and TV3. All those channels will be broadcast digitally. So that old tube TV you might have used will become obsolete.

Or maybe not?

The good thing about digital TV is that you can easily buy a device (decoder or set top box) which receives the digital TV signals captured over the air by an antenna and decodes the digital signal.

Digital TV adapter

The Digital Standard

If you’ve recently bought a new flat screen TV, you wouldn’t need to worry about buying a decoder as most of the new TVs have digital tuners built in.

Many countries in Europe and Asia have already gone through the digital TV migration. Of course, migrations aren’t always smooth because many people still cling onto their old TVs.

One of the advantages of Digital TV is clearer picture quality. If you’ve ever used those old TVs with antennas, sometimes you had adjusted the antenna to get better picture quality.

With digital TV, that issue is long gone. You can even get information about the show you’re watching thanks to the information supplied by the TV station provider. If you’re watching a movie, you could hit the “information” button on your remote and get an electronic program guide which will feature show information, as well as start and end times. You can also get information about upcoming shows.

Electronic Program Guide

So which TV stations will you get when digital migration takes place? Here’s a small list:

  • GTV
  • TV3
  • TV Africa
  • Crystal TV
  • Metro TV
  • Viasat1
  • Net-2 TV
  • e-TV Ghana
  • Coastal TV
  • GhOne
  • Top TV
  • UTV

When Do We Get All This Digital TV Goodness?

Well, the digital migration was supposed to take place in 2017 but it’s been pushed to 2018 .

The government is at the moment doing its best to create awareness about the digital switchover and offering some free digital decoders to some people.

This is not going to be a small thing. Once the switch happens, some people are going to be left out. It won’t be a smooth ride.

It should be interesting when the switch happens. I’m looking forward to it. Digital TV comes with many perks and I’m glad Ghana is one of the few countries in West Africa looking towards the future of television.

Joseph-Albert Kuuire is the creator and editor of TechNovaGh.com, an online digital platform focusing on technology in Ghana.

I’m also a UX Designer, book reader, and tech enthusiast (duh!)

Email: [email protected]