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Digital TV help scheme for up to 170k homes

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The Government is planning to roll out an assistance scheme for low-income families to ensure that they will continue to receive free-to-air TV channels when the nation switches to digital broadcasting by 2020.

Specifically, it is looking at subsidising the cost of the equipment for tuning in to digital content.

Minister for Communications and Information Yaacob Ibrahim said yesterday: "We hope to give them assistance through the set-top box and antenna and funding for installation."

Dr Yaacob estimated that some 160,000 to 170,000 households will benefit from the scheme, details of which will be announced later.

Digital transmissions allow broadcasters to send more signals more efficiently, enabling viewers to receive higher quality images and sound.

Other benefits include the ability to toggle the display of subtitles and multiple language options, which are included in programmes.

Such transmissions also free up scarce spectrum or airwaves for other uses like delivering Internet data to smartphones.