The number of national and international channels available to DTT households has increased to more than 820 in June 2011 (compared to 500 in April 2009) according to the European Audiovisual Observatory. It should be noted that this includes many channels that are appearing on the DTT networks in more than one country, including many Pan-European channels.
In the EU, the number of channels available nationally varies widely between countries. The maturity of the DTT market, the sharing of frequencies between channels and the availability of pay TV packages is influencing this. For example, the most recent launches in Ireland and Portugal have the least number of channels. At the other end of the scale, Italy has a far higher number of national channels than all other EU countries.
Pay DTT services are available in 14 EU countries, Germany (limited), UK, Italy, Denmark, Estonia, Spain, Finland, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, France, Hungary, the Netherlands, Sweden, and also in various non-EU European countries such as Iceland, Albania, Norway, “the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia” and Switzerland. There is a balance between the number of national channels available via Pay and FTA platforms. Local channels appear primarily on the FTA DTT platforms.
HD channels are available on DTT platforms in thirteen EU countries (as compared to eight in October 2010): Czech, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Estonia, Serbia, UK and Norway. HD channels are available on both FTA and Pay platforms in most of these countries (except Latvia and Lithuania where HD is on Pay DTT only). On the FTA platforms, the channels are the simulcast or HD versions of the major national public and private generalist channels. On the pay TV platforms the HD channels are niche channels, film channels and pan-European documentary channels. 3D DTT tests are being carried out in several EU countries. 3DVoD is already available in Italy.
In 2011, a further five EU countries will complete the transition from analogue to digital terrestrial transmissions, bringing the total to 16 EU (20 European). Just two EU countries (Bulgaria and Romania) have not yet launched DTT services.