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Digital television transition around the world
television transition (also
called the digital
or analog switch off (ASO),
sunset is the process in
which analog television broadcasting
is converted to and replaced by digital
television . This primarily involves both TV
stations and over the air viewers; however it also involves content
providers like TV networks,
and cable TV conversion to digital
The scale of the transition can vary at one extreme, a small, transmitter can be converted to
digital and is normally
conducted as a trial, although it can be a permanent change. At the other
extreme, a whole country can be converted from analogue to digital
television, which most recently occurred in Denmark in November 2009.
In many countries, a simulcast
service is operated where a broadcast is made available to viewers in
both analog and digital at the same time. As digital becomes more popular,
it is likely that the existing analogue services will be removed. In some
cases this has already happened, where a broadcaster has offered incentives
to viewers to encourage them to switch to digital or simply switched their
service regardless of whether they want to switch. In other cases government
policies have been introduced to encourage or force the switchover process,
especially with regard to terrestrial broadcasts.
Government intervention usually involves providing some funding for
broadcasters and, in some cases monetary relief to viewers, to enable a
switchover to happen by a given deadline.
The facility with which digital switchover can be achieved depends not only on the size of the area and number of transmitters to be converted, but also on the number of viewers who rely on the analogue signal as their primary or only means of TV reception. In Berlin for example, most residents were using cable television , so only a small number of households needed the new equipment necessary for digital reception. On the other hand, only around 65% of UK households had access to multi-channel television as of summer 2005 This left around 10 million households who would be forced to convert to another means of receiving television by the time digital switchover reaches their area
of the transition
Almost all analog formats in current use were standardized between
the 1940s and 1950s and have had to be adapted to the technological
innovations since then. Initially offering only black
& white images with monophonic
sound, the formats have had to be modified to broadcast in color, stereo
sound, SAP, captioning,
and other information all while being backwards
compatible, with televisions unable to use the features. Additionally,
engineers have had to implement these protocols within the limits of a set
bandwidth and the tolerances of an inefficient analog format.
However during this time, the application and distribution of
digital communications evolved and proved to be a superior means to
distribute the same content. A Digital television transmission is more
efficient, easily integrating other digital processes, for features
completely unavailable or unimaginable with analog formats.
For the end-user, digital television has potential for resolutions
and sound fidelity comparable with blu-ray
home video and with digital multiplexing, it is also possible to offer sub
channels , distinct simulcast programming, from the same broadcaster.
For government and industry, digital television reallocates the radio
spectrum so that can be auctioned
off by the government. In the subsequent auctions, telecommunications
industries can introduce new
World map of digital television transition progress
completed, all analog signals terminated
completed for full-power signals only; LPTV
stations still being broadcast in analog
in progress, broadcasting both analog and digital signals
not yet started, broadcasting analog signals only
was the first country to complete the move to digital
broadcasting on September 1, 2006
to digital broadcasting on December
The switch-off was helped greatly by the fact that about 90% of the
households subscribe to cable systems which continue to use analog
distribution, thus their old tuners continued to be useful.
Finland ceased analog terrestrial transmissions
nationwide at 4am, September
was previously planned for the midnight
31 but a few extra
hours were added for technical reasons). Cable TV viewers continued to
receive analogue broadcasts until the end of February 2008.
Andorra completed its switch-off on September
25 , 2007
Sweden : The switch-off of the analogue
terrestrial network progressed region–by–region. It started on the
island of Gotland on September
19 , 2005,
and was completed on October
29 , 2007
, when the last analogue SVT1
transmitters in Blekinge
and western Scania were
shut down. Cable
distributors are allowed to continue broadcasting analogue television.
Switzerland began with the switch-off on July
24 , 2006 in Ticino
and continued with Engadin on November
13 , 2006
. The switch-off was completed on November
§ § Belgium (Flanders): the situation is rather complex, as media regulations are under regional legislation. Flanders switched off analogue television on November 3 , 2008 because coverage is already at 99 percent.
started the switch-off in the Berlin area, beginning on November
and completing on August
4 , 2003
. "Simulcast " digital transmissions started in other parts of the
country in an effort to prepare for a full switchover. The switch-off of
terrestrial analogue transmitters was completed on November
25 , 2008 , except
one main transmitter in Bad
Mergentheim which was shut down in June 2009. Analogue cable and satellite
broadcasts remain available for the time being; the public brodcasters
announced to switch of those services in 2012.
United States ended all full-power
analog broadcasts at midnight on June
. Low power television
stations continue to be broadcast in analog in several areas until their
final analog shutoff dates, which are yet to be determined. The United
States is the first non-European nation to switch off analog signals.
Isle of Man
switched off all analog services on July
16 , 2009
Denmark switched off
all analog services at midnight on November
Australia : Digital television commenced in
Australia's five most populous cities on 1 January 2001. The Australian
government originally planned a switch-off of analog TV in 2008. This has
now been delayed to 2010 for some regional areas and to 2013 for the rest of
the country. Until that
time, free-to-air stations will be simulcast,
along with digital-only channels like ABC2.
Since 1999, legislation has required all locally made free-to-air television
transmissions to be in 16:9
widescreen format. Cable
television networks began simulcasting in 2004 and analog cable services
were switched off in April 2007.
began analogue switch-off on March
5 , 2007,
progressing from the west to the east .
complete its analog switch-off in December 2012.
Brazil began free-to-air HD digital
transmissions, after a period of test broadcasts, on December
2, 2007 in Săo
Paulo, expanding in January 2008 to Brasília,Rio
de Janeiro and Belo
Horizonte Digital broadcasts
will be phased into the other 23 state capitals by the end of 2009, and to
the remaining cities by December 31, 2013 Analogue
and digital simulcasts will
continue until June
29 , 2016
, when analogue will be discontinued. The main broadcasters (Globo ,Record , Band
, SBT and RedeTV!
) are simulcasting in analogue and digital
broadcast, in standard
definition and 1080i high
(Wallonia Flanders switched
off analogue television on November
But Wallonia has
not yet announced a date and is expected to follow the European dates
because of geographic difficulties in covering the whole region. In Wallonia,
there is already an 80 percent DTT coverage.
Canada: The main FTA broadcasters
and Global) have launched HD
streams of their programming in limited markets such as Toronto and
Vancouver. On May
Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC,
Canada's broadcasting authority) ruled that television stations would be
forced to switch to ATSC digital broadcasting by August
with minor exceptions in remote areas where analogue transmissions will not
cause interference. As of May 2007 there
were fewer than 20 digital
television stations in Canada
Unlike in the other countries, Canada originally was allowing
the market to determine when the analogue switch-off begins. As a result,
while analogue and digital broadcasts currently co-exist, digital
transmission penetration is still low, and the only way to receive Canadian
digital TV in most areas is via cable or satellite TV. In Toronto it
is possible to pick up DTV
over the air; in Montreal, Ottawa and Quebec
City a partial set of channels (most often CBC
only) are offered – primarily as a vehicle for limited HDTV
deployments. About one-half of Canadian homes have over-the-air access to
border stations, all of which offer ATSC DTV. New TV's and DVD
recorders often include
ATSC tuners but are not required to do so; retail-store availability of
basic converters for existing
NTSC TV's is limited
plans to close down analogue on January 1, 2020.
plans to close down analogue broadcasting in 2010.
Rica: plans to close down analogue for in December, 2018.
Republic: started the switch-off in September 2007 and should finish by
November 2011 (some regions June 2012). The areas of Domažlice
West Bohemia, Prague, Central
Bohemia, and South Bohemia have
already switched off analog broadcasting of ČT2.
Salvador The target date is
January 1, 2014.
In Estonia analog switch-off date has been set for July 1st 2010 France will
have completed the switch-off in November 2011. 80% of the population will
be able to see TNT n 2008.
the switch-off will complete after the end of 2011
Kong analogue broadcasting is
planned to be switched off by 2012
scheduled to switch off analogue broadcasting on January 1, 2012.
broadcaster RTÉ plans
to make digital television available to most of the population by 2010.
and the switch off is planned to be complete by 2012.
§ § Italy: the deadline for the transition to digital broadcasting is December 31, 2012, as enacted by Italian law
also running an intense nationwide campaign announcing the planned
switchover to digital terrestrial and satellite television on July
Analogue high-television broadcast ended on September 30, 2007. Many
television stations across the country have already begun broadcasting
simultaneously in digital.
Communications Commission of Kenya (CCK) announced that the country will
start digital broadcasting in 2008 following preliminary work by the
government. Kenya will be among the first countries in Africa to implement
a 20-year plan to switch, with the target year of 2022 for the analogue
shut-off. Some digital signals are already on-air, the first being Tijuana's
ETV – an English-language
affiliate of The CW serving
primarily San Diego,
California. Groups of cities which are required to simulcast digitally are
added in descending order of size, with full coverage of the smallest
centres required for 2021.
Information Ministry was planning to shut down the country's analogue
television system in phases beginning from 2012 and set to convert to full
digital TV in 2015.
Zealand: It was announced on the November 29, 2007 that the analogue TV
broadcasts will end within the next 6 to 10 years and expect a switch off
date to be announced by 2012. Digital broadcast via Freeview
become available late 2007. More recent estimates of this switch-off date
have been in the area of 2013 to 2015 A
tentative date will be set when digital uptake reaches 60% (55% reached as
of November 2008).
The switch-off of the analogue transmissions started in March 2008 and will
progress region-by-region. The last analogue transmitters are scheduled to
close down by the end of 2009.
The analog broadcast will stop on either December 12, 2012 or in 2014
government aims to complete the digital switchover by 2012; digital
broadcasts started on April 29, 2009. Portugal's government hopes to cover
80% of the territory with DTV by the end of 2009, and simulcasts will remain
to close down analogue in July 28, 2020. On air with ISDB-T from
the National Telecommunications Commission will terminate all analogue
television transmission on December
Digital television in the Philippines will be launched by ABS-CBN in
2009 using either DVB-T or ISDB-T.
is scheduled to switch off analogue broadcasting in January 1, 2012.
as announced that the switch-off is to be completed in 2015
first launched DTT-only Channel in 2008. First DTT transmissions are
launched in 2005. 0 The government aims to complete ASO by 2011
the government aims to complete the digital switchover by 2012.
the switch-off will be completed in 2010.
Africa: started simultaneous digital and analogue broadcasting in November
2008 in preparation for the 2010
FIFA World Cup. Switch-off has not yet begun but is scheduled for completion
by mid 2011.
Korea's analogue transmissions will be terminated nationwide on December
and major broadcasters like MBC, SBS or
other affiliated networks, KBS are
broadcasting both analog and digital TV in most major cities.
the switch-off will be completed on or before April
analogue transmissions will be terminated on July
Switch-over commenced on April
Kingdom: Following a technical trial in a small community in Wales on
March 30, 2005, the "digital
switchover" began in
the UK on October 17, 2007 with Whitehaven in Cumbria and
is proceeding to a transmitter
switchover timetable implemented by region. The last transmitters are London, Tyne
Tees and luster, that will
be switched off by March 2013The process is managed by Digital
UK, with some viewers eligible for the Digital
Switchover Help Scheme.
Planning commission's Working group on Information & Broadcasting report
for the 11th Five year Plan has stressed on the importance of
and the need to establish HDTV ,which enables delivery of better quality pictures to
viewers homes and is considered as an importance area in upcoming
technologies. Doordarshan Plans to formally introduce HDTV in the country by
2010 so that Indian TV viewers can receive the Commonwealth Games in HDTV.
Central government believes that HDTV format is fast catching up globally and
needs to be established for the telecast of the Commonwealth Games in Delhi
before 2010 and
later across the country.
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