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Malaysia govt to distribute another 1 million free MYTV decoder boxes

The government has announced that it will provide another 1 million MYTV digital TV decoder boxes for free due to popular demand especially in rural areas. According to Deputy Communications and Multimedia Minister Datuk Zahidi Zainul Abidin, this is part of the government’s effort to improve broadband connectivity while ensuring digital TV broadcast is not affected.

Applications for the previous batch of free MYTV decoder boxes were closed on 31st May 2020. However, due to high demand, the government has requested for another allocation of 1 million digital TV decoder boxes to fulfil the demand. This was mentioned by the Deputy Minister while answering a question from Pasir Puteh MP Dr Nik Muhammad Zawawi Salleh in Parliament.

Digital TV broadcast and 5G confusion

During Monday’s Parliament session, there seems to be some confusion about how digital TV works. The Pasir Puteh MP initially asked the Deputy Minister about broadcasting issues that were affected by broadband particularly 5G. It appears that the MP had mixed up the 700MHz 5G spectrum allocation with digital broadcast.

In his response, Datuk Zahidi clarified that the 700MHz spectrum for broadband use has not been allocated yet to any telco. However, he added that the reception in certain MYTV covered areas isn’t that strong and would be interrupted if there’s no broadband access. Then he mentioned that with 700MHz 5G broadband, the broadcast quality will be improved.

MYTV doesn’t require internet access

The digital TV service that’s broadcasted by MYTV does not require internet access. It uses terrestrial DVB-T2 signals that is received by a UHF antenna that can be hooked up to either a DVB-T2 compatible TV or through a decoder box. Internet would be required in the future for interactive services but you don’t need that now to watch TV and radio content.

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In terms of reception, the digital terrestrial service (DTT) covers 95% of the population via 44 transmission sites throughout Malaysia. For places that are out of reach, there’s a Direct-to-Home (DTH) option that uses satellite.

There are several reasons why some users may experience poor MYTV signal but it has nothing to do with internet access. As highlighted by the MCMC last year, this is could be due to poor installation of UHF antennas or decoder boxes that are not certified by MCMC or SIRIM. If you’re still having issues, you may contact the MYTV careline at 1800-18-1088 for further assistance.

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Alexander Wong