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Portugal starts migration to digital broadcasting

Portugal has switch off its analogue terrestrial transmitter network, the reported.

Starting with Lisbon, all PAL transmitters will cease operation, with the last to be shut off on April 26.

Around 90% of Portuguese households receiving analogue signals are prepared to migrate towards digital services, according to the latest survey released by the national telecoms regulator, Anacom. In order to prepare for the switch-off, the government launched in March last year a comprehensive publicity campaign.

The new service is known as Terrestrial Digital Television (TDT) and was launched in 2009 with four free-to-air (FTA) channels and a HD test channel.

The offers consists of a simulcast of the four main analogue broadcasters, the two public channels RTP 1 and RTP 2, and private broadcasters SIC (Sociedade Independente de Comunicação) and TVI.  For the Azores and Madeira Islands there are the regional public channels RTP Açores and RTP Madeira. The DVB-T service also includes a HD pilot channel.

Anacom’s objective was to have five TDT FTA channels (including a new 5th FTA channel) and a paid TV offer of around 40 channels. The plan for a paid TV offer was abandoned when PT announced that they were returning the paid TV licence to Anacom.

The creation of the fifth TV channel has also been criticised by the main private broadcasters – TVI and SIC, who argued that the television advertising market is already saturated and a new broadcaster would be detrimental to existing channels.