SABC still using 80s technologies, similar to VHS and Betamax
The SABC is still using analogue tape drives for programming and storage, even though it buys content in digital form. This is according to SABC interim board deputy chairperson Mathatha Tsedu, who was providing feedback to Parliament about the public broadcaster. According to Tsedu, the SABC does not have digital storage – and must store its content in analogue format on tape drives.
The Rapport newspaper said the SABC’s radio division stores their archives on audio cassettes. These analogue tape-based technologies were popular in the eighties, but time has moved on and they are virtually non-existent in the modern broadcasting world. According to TV with Thinus, Tsedu told Parliament the media and broadcasting world of 2017 is a fully digital environment.
However, the SABC is “caught in a bizarre time warp” thanks to its reliance on these old technologies. “The majority of the SABC’s outside broadcasting trucks that do the outside broadcasts are analogue,” said Tsedu. “The SABC buys content outside in digital form, but when we store it – because we don’t have digital storage – we store it on tapes.
So we buy it as 2017 content, and we store it in a 1980 format.”
He said the SABC will have to convert all the analogue content to digital in the future, which includes the recent content it converted from digital to analogue for storage purposes.