Italy postpones DVB-T2 obligation

Italy’s Council of Ministers has passed a decree postponing the obligation of the compulsory sale of DVB-T2 compatible TV sets, originally scheduled for January 1st 2015, and specifying the use of the HEVC (High Efficiency Video Coding or H.265) codec.

Under existing law, from next week, TV manufacturers would not have been able to market TV sets without DVB-T2 tuners, while retailers would then have only six months (until July 1st 2015) to dispose of all existing DVB-T stock.

Consumer associations and industry representatives had expressed many doubts and concerns regarding compulsory sales of TV sets with the new standard, suggesting the decision was “premature” and failed to specify the type of coding. Moreover, no free-to-air Italian TV channels, including public broadcaster RAI, are broadcasting in this mode, nor are there any customer-facing trials under way.

Although the text of the decree is yet to be published, the new deadline for the start of compulsory sale of DVB-T2 devices should be known in the coming days. According to unofficial sources, the postponement could be for a period of 18 months.

The only DVB-T2 offer in Italy was that of pay-TV platform Europa 7 HD, which ceased transmissions in August. Following live broadcasts of Italian Serie B Football during one season, Europa 7 HD was unable thereafter to provide content of interest to subscribers.

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