70% Italians are HD-ready, only 20% watch

The number of Italian households with a TV set that supports High Definition has exceeded 17 million, about 70 per cent of the total, according to industry association HD Forum Italia.However, only one in five are actually watching HD broadcasts because the free-to-air offer on Digital Terrestrial Television is limited to one HD channel from public broadcaster RAI (RAI HD) and three from commercial rival Mediaset (Italia 1 HD, Rete 4 HD, Canale 5 HD).Given the scarcity of bandwidth, so far the priority for broadcasters has been to increase the number of channels rather than their quality. But now that the HD devices are in almost all homes and new encryption technologies such as HEVC have freed transmission space.

Broadcasters are also now investing in HD content. RAI has already produced a documentary about Turin in 4K, numerous documentaries in 3D, took part in an experimental 8K satellite transmission with BBC and NHK, and is now promoting the setting-up of a task force for the development of 3D. For its part, Mediaset does not exclude the possibility of the introduction of a monthly subscription fee, as is the case in some other European countries, for those viewers who want to receive HD or Ultra HD transmissions.

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