From Branislav Pekic in Rome
From April 3rd, only TV sets with integrated digital terrestrial television decoders will be on sale in Italy. The move is the result of the law passed in October 2007 which represents one of the key steps in the switchover from analogue to digital terrestrial. For its part, DGTVi, the association for the development of digital terrestrial (whose members include RAI, Mediaset, Telecom Italia Media, Dfree and local broadcasters), has signalised, with a white DGTVi stamp, all models of TV sets with integrated decoders which are compatible for the reception of the Italian free-to-air and pay-TV channels.
The timetable defined by the Italian Government foresees, by May 20th, the partial switchover in Western Piedmont (cities of Turin and Cuneo). From that date, two national TV channels – Rai Due and Rete 4 – will be exclusively available in digital terrestrial. The partial switchover will continue in the regions of Lazio (June 16th) and Campania (September 10th).
Italian TV viewers currently receive a total of 27 free-to-air channels on digital terrestrial (compared to 9 on analogue terrestrial) plus numerous pay-TV channels aired by Mediaset and Dahlia TV.