19 December 2014

Save on TV with DTT

To those still using rabbit ears, the age of analog broadcasts in Israel is over.  But, there is a great opportunity for all TV watchers – including YES and HOT subscribers – to get a small package of channels for the one-time payment of a DTT set-top box.

About DTT and Idan+
What is DTT?  DTT stands for digital terrestrial television.  It is the technology which is replacing the older, analog method.  You may also hear the term Idan+.  The Second Authority for Television and Radio operates Idan+, the name of Israel’s digital terrestrial network.

Dropping pay TV could save you a bundle
The average Israeli pays 196 NIS a month, one of the largest of household expenses according to a 2008 survey by the Central Bureau of Statistics.  If you switch to DTT, as have 200,000 households already, you could save almost 2,500 NIS a year.  Interestingly, the IDF is ending all its subscriptions to HOT and YES, which is expected to net a savings of tens of millions of shekels a year.

DTT offers the basics now, more in the future
Today with DTT, you will receive the Israel Broadcasting Authority’s Channels 1 and 33, commercial Channels 2 and 10, and the always entertaining Channel 99, the Knesset Channel.  Moreover, the offerings will increase over the next two years with the addition of 12 regular TV channels, 4 HD channels, and all national and regional radio stations.  From the Office of the Prime Minister:

בשלב ראשון יתווספו לערוצים אלה כל ערוצי הרדיו האזורי והארצי, חינוכית 23, ערוץ 9 (המשדר בשפה הרוסית), ערוץ 24 (ערוץ המוסיקה) וערוץ HD. בשלב השני יצורפו ערוצים נוספים, כגון ערוץ בשפה הערבית, ערוץ חדשות, ערוץ מורשת וערוצי HD נוספים.

Buying a DTT converter
Most electronics stores, many online stores, and even the post office are selling the converters.  (Ask for a ממיר דיגיטלי.)  You can get one for your TV or even a USB version to enable you to receive broadcasts on your computer.

As The Marker reports, DTT set-top box won’t set you back that much either.

The converter will cost between NIS 250 to NIS 400 and comes with an antenna.

If the signal you receive is weak – it varies from area to area – you’ll need a stronger antenna, costing from NIS 50 to hundreds of shekels.

If you can’t install the converter yourself, there are companies such as Digital Box that will do it for you, though they’ll charge from NIS 400 to NIS 800 for the pleasure.

If you have a low income, you may even be eligible for a partial refund of the cost.

I hope some of you make the switch.  Feel free to share your experience in the comments!

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Comments

  1. Debbie says:

    Should our original roof antenna work with the digital converter?

    • Good question, Debbie. For most people, the small antenna it comes with seems to do the trick.

      The Second Authority’s website FAQ states the following about antennas.

      What is a dedicated antenna?
      Electronic supply stores and outlets offer three kinds of antennas adapted to Idan+ broadcasts. The Second Authority recommends checking that the equipment fulfils the minimal technical requirements, as specified in the Second Authority’s website. Most converters are sold with a Whip-Stick antenna. The Second Authority recommends, where needed, the purchase of a stronger antenna for improved reception: a Yagi antenna or an active inside (oblong) antenna. When placing the antenna, it is important to test various locations in the room to find the ideal spot for reception. More massive Yagi antennas are available for roof-top installation, for use in places where reception is particularly poor inside the home. The considerations for selecting an antenna are different, based on location, type of converter, etc. You can forward any questions you may have to the Idan+ technical staff using the on-line query form or by calling the Helpline at *9524.

  2. Ben M says:

    Thanks for the post – I just bought one of these and am really impressed.

    It seems to be as cheap (or even cheaper) buying these in store than online via Zap, which surprised me.

    We picked up a Pilot PIL2836CRL from Shufersal. The price on the box was 299, but at the checkout it was 249. It has HD support, a decent EPG and can record to a USB drive. The only thing it seems to lack is live pause. The picture quality and sound is good. All in all I’m very happy with it.

  3. If I don’t have a TV and get one of these for my computer, am I now required to pay TV tax?

    • kj, great question.

      According to the FAQ of the Second Authority for Television & Radio:

      Will the shift to digital terrestrial broadcasts have any effect on the IBA’s license fees?
      No. IBA License fees are paid by law to finance public broadcasting only, with no connection to how these broadcasts are transmitted.

      In addition, the TV Fee Department’s FAQ also states:

      האם אני מחוייב בתשלום אגרה גם אם:
      אני צופה באמצעות מחשב?
      אם אני צופה לא בטלויזיה אלא באמצעות שילוב של וידאו וצג מחשב או באמצעות וידאו ומוניטור?
      כן

      So, it seems like the answer is ‘yes.’

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  2. […] Enjoy the freebie, but also keep in mind that there are much cheaper ways to watch TV! […]

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