After being tested for quite some time, Malaysia’s digital terrestrial TV broadcast system was officially launched yesterday. Branded as myFreeview, it is replacing our analogue broadcast system that will be deactivated by 2018 as part of a mutual objective within four other neighboring ASEAN countries.
Malaysia’s migration from analogue to digital TV broadcast has been known for some time, but with a national roll-out coming very soon, here’s what you need to know.
Digital TV Broadcast and myFreeview’s Role
According to myFreeview’s official website, digital TV broadcast enables users to watch content with better image quality and at higher resolutions. It also allows content to be delivered with improved sound quality as well including surround sound capability.
Users will also able to access electronic program guides, which should be quite useful especially once more channels join the myFreeview line-up. At this moment, myFreeview offers access to TV1, TV2, TV3, NTV7, 8TV, TV9, TV AlHijrah, TVi, and Bernama News Channel.
The platform will also be offering interactive TV services such as home shopping, video-on-demand, and additional paid contents. However, the exact roll-out date for these service is not yet known, and most of them will only be accessible when users connect their decoder to the Internet.
Ways to Connect to myFreeview
Speaking of which, the decoder is one of two ways that viewers can tune in to myFreeview channels. There are currently two types of decoders that were released by MYTV Broadcasting Sdn Bhd, which was awarded the license by government to develop and operate the national digital TV infrastructure since 2014 for 30 years.
One such decoder is called MYTV Basic which is given for free to select Bantuan Rakyat 1Malaysia (BR1M) recipients residing within myFreeview coverage areas. As for the actual retail decoder, it is called MYTV Advance which is equipped with a LAN port for Internet connectivity, alongside support for Dolby Audio.
The MYTV Advanced decoder can be obtained for RM 299 at participating electronics stores throughout Malaysia – although MYTV is currently offering the decoder for RM 199 until 16 September 2017. For those who are wondering if they are eligible for the free MYTV Basic decoder, they can check their eligibility at MYTV’s official website.
Alternatively, you can also purchase a TV set that comes with an integrated digital TV tuner, as long as the tuner supports myFreeview’s broadcast standard (which is DVB-T2). It is not hard to find them though as many TVs and smart TVs that were released into Malaysia since 2015 already equipped with built-in DVB-T2 tuner.
Regardless whether you choose to use a decoder or a built-in digital TV tuner inside your TV, both devices need to be connected to an indoor or outdoor UHF aerial in order to receive the signal.
In terms of coverage, around 80% of the Malaysian population are already covered by myFreeview’s transmission towers throughout Malaysia which will be expanded even further to include up to 98% of the population within this year.
All in all, the only investment needed from users is the MYTV decoder or a TV that supports DVB-T2 broadcast system since myFreeview is free for life (although as mentioned earlier, additional paid content might be offered in the future).
It is indeed still early days for digital TV in Malaysia but as the country will be shutting down its analogue broadcast system soon, it has become the sole route to move forward.