DigiTAG seeks to inform members and non-members about important developments in the digital terrestrial television market. Each month, DigiTAG distributes its web letter with news updates and further exploration of one topic.
To subscribe to the DigiTAG Web Letter, send an email to the DigiTAG Project Office.
New Zealand prepares for Analogue Switch-Off
New Zealand is well advanced in its digital switchover. On 30 September, the regions of West Coast in the South Island and Hawke's Bay in the North Island are set to become the first areas in the country to complete the process. Depending on where they live, viewers will need to switch to either digital terrestrial or satellite reception. And already, 90% of viewers in Hawke's Bay and 92% of viewers in the West Coast have converted to digital television.
Analogue switch-off will continue through 3 phases until the process is completed on 1 December 2013. The rest of the South Island will switch on 28 April 2013 followed by Lower North Island and East Coast on 29 September 2013 and the final phase will finish on Upper North Island on 1 December 2013.
To help with the digital switchover process, the government launched a highly successful information campaign to assist viewers with their preparations. According to the latest information published by the Digital Tracker Report for the period from May to July 2012, 86% of all households have converted to digital television. Of these, 33% rely on a free-to-air digital platform (whether terrestrial or satellite) while a further 19% use both the pay and free-to-air platforms. Approximately 90% of households are aware of digital switchover although only 34% are aware of the analogue switch-off date in their region.
The government has also set up a digital switchover help scheme known as the Targeted Assistance Package. It seeks to provide both financial and technical support to those households with elderly and/or disabled members. Eligible households can apply for the help scheme six months prior to analogue switch-off in their region and for up to three months afterwards.
The cost of the Targeted Assistance Package will vary depending on the number of eligible households opting for the support although the government estimates that the programme will cost between NZ$12 – 18 million (€7.7 – 11.6 million) based on 58,000 households taking benefit from the programme.
The free-to-air DTT platform officially launched on 14 April 2008 and is available to 84% of the population. It offers viewers access to up to 20 television programme services, 5 of which are regional services, and to 3 radio services across 3 multiplexes. Of these television services, 3 are available in High-Definition. An 8-day electronic programme guide, known as Freeview EPG, is available using MHEG-5, as is parental control and captioning services for the hearing impaired. The platform uses the DVB-T and MPEG-4 AVC standards.
Because the DTT platform does not offer full population coverage, a free-to-view satellite service is also available. Its television and radio services vary slightly from those available on the DTT platform and it does not make any services available in HD.
Marketing for the satellite service takes place alongside the DTT platform. The leading broadcasters, Television New Zealand (TVNZ), TV Works (owners of TV3), Maori Television and Radio New Zealand have launched the non-profit organisation Freeview to promote the benefits of free-to-air digital television and radio services and help viewers with digital switchover on the DTT and satellite platforms. For both platforms, the Freeview organisation has issued receiver specifications and made logos available for certified products.
Plans are currently underway to launch a new DTT network using the DVB-T2 standard. The broadcast network operator Kordia is in the process of building this network.
The planned DVB-T2 network will be used to provide services from IGLOO, a low-cost pay television alternative. It is a joint venture between Sky Television, which owns 51%, and TVNZ which owns the remaining 49% of the venture. Frequencies previously allocated to Sky will be used to build the network.
Last May, competition authorities gave its approval for the launch IGLOO amid fears that IGLOO would act to decrease competition in pay television.
IGLOO proposes to offer 11 television programme services as well as the possibility to stream 1,000 films and sitcoms via the Internet. Viewers will be able to access the content using a pre-paid card or on a pay-per-view basis. Receivers will be provided by Sky. IGLOO had been set to launch during the first half of 2012, however, the launch has been delayed with no new launch date announced.
Following digital switchover, the government is planning to allocate the frequencies in the 700 MHz band (694-806 MHz) band to mobile broadband services. The methodology used to allocate these frequencies has not yet been determined. At the end of 2011, the government issued a consultation on the different options available for the allocation as well as the possible timing; however it has not yet issued its final recommendations.
The New Zealand government has announced that it will support the harmonised allocation of the 700 MHz around the world so as to achieve economies of scale in products and services. It has already been supportive of efforts by certain national administrations in Asia and Africa calling for mobile broadband services to be given co-primary allocation status alongside broadcasting in the 700 MHz in ITU Region 1 which also includes Europe.
Currently, the government is in the process of moving existing DTT services using the 700 MHz to lower sections of the UHF band. This process is underway on a region-by-region basis and is nearly completed.
In terms of the DTT platform, frequency capacity for a further 2 DTT multiplexes will remain. However, no plans have been made as to when the capacity will be made available for licenses.
Source: Natalie Mouyal, on behalf of the DigiTAG Project Office
DigiTAG aims to encourage and facilitate the implementation and introduction of digital terrestrial television services using the Digital Video Broadcasting Project's Standard (DVB-T). It has members from broadcasting, network operators, regulatory, and manufacturing organisations throughout Europe and beyond.
Visit the DigiTAG website
Please contact the DigiTAG office if you have any news that you would like to include in the next DigiTAG Web Letter.
To unsubscribe from the DigiTAG Web Letter, please click here and put 'UNSUBSCRIBE' in the subject title of your email.
Since it was launched in Amsterdam at IBC ‘96, DigiTAG has been instrumental in triggering discussion and debate on many hot topics of digital terrestrial television distribution. This year will be no exception and the specialist session at 16:00 on Monday 10 September 2012 at the IBC Conference will address the topic of 'The Emerging Spectrum Landscape for Broadcast and Mobile'.
And if you would like to discuss any issues about digital terrestrial TV, please visit the DVB Stand (1D81) where DigiTAG staff will be present throughout the IBC exhibition period.
DTT NEWS ROUND-UP
For access to the full articles archive, please go to DigiTAG News
Germany - 25% of households own a DVB-T receiver
According to the Federal Office for Statistics, Statistische Bundesamt (Destatis), 25% of households owned a DVB-T receiver at the end of 2011.
In comparison, only 12% of households had a DVB-T receiver at the end of 2007.
Source: Destatis website
Spain - Broadcasters agree to revised DTT frequency plan
The government and broadcasters have reached an agreement regarding the allocation of frequencies for the DTT platform.
Broadcasters have agreed to a plan that will reduce the amount of frequencies available for them on the DTT platform. The six commercial broadcasters (Antena 3, Tele 5, La Sexta, Cuatro, Net TV and Veo TV) will share capacity across 5 multiplexes rather than 6 multiplexes as originally planned.
Source: El Mundo
Sweden - 1.2 million subscribers pay-DTT services in Finland, Demark and Sweden
Teracom remains a leading provider of pay television services in the Nordics with 1.2 million subscribers to its pay-DTT services in Denmark, Finland and Sweden.
Growth has been strong in Denmark following the decision of the commercial broadcaster TV2 to become a pay service in January 2012. At the end of the second quarter of 2012, Boxer Denmark had 368,000 subscribers compared with 80,000 subscribers at the end of Q2 in 2011.
Source: Teracom website
Czech Republic - CTU issues DVB-T2 receiver specification
The telecommunications regulator CTU has issued an updated version of its receiver specification for the DTT platform.
Known as the D-Book, the updated version of the receiver specification contains the parameters for the use of the DVB-T2 standard in Czech Republic. The first edition of the D-Book included the receiver specification for the DVB-T standard.
Source: CTU website
Austria - DVB-T2 network rollout to begin in 3Q 2012
The roll-out of the DVB-T2 network is set to begin in the third quarter of 2012. Nationwide coverage is expected to be achieved by 2014.
The DVB-T2 network will be operated by the broadcast network operator ORS which has been allocated a license to operate 2 DVB-T2 multiplexes. It plans to use the DVB-T2 platform to offer 30-40 television programme services, including HDTV.
Source: Net Insight website
Italy - Italia 1 HD launches on DTT platform
The commercial broadcaster Mediaset has officially launched a new television programme service in high-definition (HD) on the national DTT platform on 28 August.
This is an HD version of its existing television service Italia 1.
Greece - ASO completed in Athens
Analogue switch-off has been completed in Athens and its surrounding region.
All analogue services broadcast from the transmission site at Mount Ymittos were switched off on 17 August. These services included ET1, NET and ET3 from the public service broadcaster ERT.