As of January 1st, the sale of TV sets with DVB-T/MPEG-2 or MPEG-4 encoding is no longer allowed in Italy.
Retailers can market only TV sets with tuner compatible with the new second-generation digital terrestrial standard DVBT-2/HEVC, which allows for more efficient use of frequencies by an estimated 30 per cent compression of the signal.
By opting for the DVBT-2/HEVC standard, Italy has averted a double migration (the first to the DVB-T2 MPEG-4 and the second to the DVB-T2 HEVC), with the consequent need for viewers to purchase new receivers in a very short time.
According to estimates by the Association of Radio and TV Broadcasters (CRTV), of the approximately 48 million TV receivers in Italian homes in March 2016, only 6 per cent were capable of receiving the new standard with a replacement rate of between 4 and 6 million pieces per year.
The transition to the new technology is an obligation under the planned migration at EU level of the 700 MHz band to mobile broadband expected by 2020-2022.
In Italy, the band is occupied in over 60 per cent of the cases by national network operators, while the rest is almost entirely used by local stations, with some rights of use expiring in 2032.
The transaction will be gradual until 2022 all the main channels will be transmitted in simulcast.