Lack of STBs hamper pay DTT

From David Del Valle in Madrid

The lack of pay DTT-ready STBs is to delay the beginning of the pay-DTT business in Spain for at least the next two months. Manufacturers are to begin producing the pay-DTT boxes in September and the first devices will not be ready until at least the end of the month.

This is a setback to Mediapro's plans to distribute pay DTT content through its football TV channel Gol TV coinciding with the beginning of the Spanish football League next Saturday. By contrast, it is to Sogecable's benefit as its DTH-based pay TV football channel Canal Plus Liga will have less competition.

Pay DTT devices will have to be open and compatible with all technologies, according to the Government's mandate which has also suggested as "highly recommended" the use of a common interface. But, apart from technology, the decision to use one or two different platforms is still to be decided. There are two different options on the table: on the one hand, Abertis Telecom, the current domestic broadcast agency, which almost has the monopoly of the carriage of TV signals and which relies on Nagravision's technology to implement pay DTT services; or the Dahlia platform which is to distribute a plethora of TV channels using Spanish technology and which has committed itself to paying broadcasters (above all Mediapro) for exclusive distribution rights. Both options are still open with the decision to use one of them or both up to the broadcasters.

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