Costa Rica Begins Switchover From Analog To Digital TV

In With The New, Out With The Old

Nowadays television is a fact of life for billions of people. Since it was invented `the box’ has become an enormous success. And as it is often the case with sucessful inventions we want more, we want the best and we want it as soon as possible. Digital tv, one of the latest iterations of television has arrived in Costa Rica and the changes have already started.

Stay Tuned For Important Information

Costa Rica’s first television broadcast took place in January 1956. Obviously, it was analog, in black/white and not too clear or stable. Much has changed since. A few months ago, in August 14th, the old analog television signal was turned off in order to give way to the digital one. Among other possibilities, digital television allows for more programming through the same channel, image and sound in high definition as well as the possibility of having an interactive guide.

~ The switchover marks the demise of the NTSC format (humorousy known as Never Twice the Same Color) and gives way to the Japanese-Brazilian (ISDB-Tb) format. According to technical studies, this is the system that best adapts to Costa Rica’s geographical conditions.

~ The Ministry of Science, Technology and Telecommunications, (MICITT) indicated that the blackout is being done progressively.

~ The first stage was Region 1. This includes the territory covered by broadcasts from the Irazú Volcano National Park. These areas will have the strongest digital signal.

~ The signal reaches most of San José’s Metropolitan Area (Gran Área Metropolitana) and extends to Horquetas de Sarapiquí to the North, Turrialba, Guápiles and other areas of Limón to the East and to Palmares, Quepos and Parrita to the West.

~ Region 2, which includes the rest of the country, will turn off its analog signal within a maximum of one year, in August 14, 2020

How Will The Change Affect You?

~ The blackout will not affect users with paid television services (satellite, cable or IPTV). Their service providers are responsible for carrying out the necessary actions to continue receiving the signal from national channels.

~ “Old” television sets (namely, those not able to reproduce the ISDB-Tb standard format) cannot process the signals from the digital television repeaters. This does not necessarily mean that the users will need new TV sets. Using a ISDB-Tb digital television tuner box (Set Top Box, STB) they can receive the digital signal, convert it into image and sound, and send it to the TV via HDMI cable.

~ The Instituto Mixto de Ayuda Social (IMAS) will finance with up to ₡23.000 Puente al Desarrollo families (in extreme poverty) so they can purchase their digital converters. Of course, conditions apply.

Users can get information and assistance at 800-2467-2883 and [email protected].

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