2012 a ‘watershed’ for European DTT
The European Audiovisual Observatory (EAO) has revealed that 2012, the recommended year for analogue switch-off, was a significant watershed for digital terrestrial television (DTT) in the European Union.
Rapid TV News reports that the EAO’s 2012 Yearbook shows a total of 22 EU member States hit the recommended deadline during the 12-month period including Ireland, Italy, Lithuania, Portugal, the Slovak Republic, and the United Kingdom. With switch-off also complete in Croatia, Switzerland, Norway and Iceland, this means that 26 countries out of the 39 Member States of the EAO have completed the transition.
On a broader context, the transition to the June 2015 deadline of the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) GE-06 agreement continues apace with switch-off on track to be complete in Greece, Poland and Bulgaria in 2013, and Hungary either later this year or in 2014 along with the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and Bosnia and Herzegovina. Albania, Romania, Russia, Montenegro and Turkey will likely complete by 2015.
The transition is designed to provide a solid basis for the European television industry. In all, 86 new DTT channels were launched in 2012 with HDTV channels available on DTT networks in 22 European countries. In 2012, 369 new television channels were launched on all platforms in the EU and two-fifths broadcast in HD.