Advanced Television

RAI initiates Freeview/Freesat project

May 26, 2008

From Branislav Pekic in Rome

The Board of Directors of Italian state broadcaster RAI is examining a project to launch a joint digital terrestrial television package on a free-to-air satellite platform with other national broadcasters.

The initiative also involves commercial broadcasters Mediaset and Telecom Italia Media (owner of the La7 TV channel) and aims to provide 100 per cent national coverage using digital terrestrial and satellite technology. As a result, the estimated four to six per cent of the Italian population that would not be reached with terrestrial frequencies by the 2012 switch-off deadline would be guaranteed continued TV reception.

A total of 8,069,889 DTT receivers were distributed in Italy at the end of March, according to the latest report from GFK Marketing Services for DGTVi. Out of the total, 1,961,072 (24.3 per cent) are TV sets with an integrated DTT decoder, while 6,108,817 (75.7 per cent) are external decoders. Of the stand-alone boxes, 59.5 per cent were acquired without the state subsidy, 34 per cent are subsidised interactive decoders, while 6.5 per cent are basic digital boxes (so-called zappers).

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