DigiTAG, the broadcast industry body that promotes digital terrestrial television (DTT) and protecting broadcast spectrum for broadcasters has published a new guide on digital switchover.
The guide provides a comprehensive overview of the key regulatory, business, and technical issues that must be addressed for a successful digital switchover process. It also explores strategies for analogue switch-off as well as some of the key topics national administrations will need to consider in the next few years such as the allocation of the digital dividend, spectrum sharing and the impact of mobile broadband services on the DTT platform.
DigiTAG notes that nearly all countries around the world have adopted a DTT standard and are now preparing to launch DTT services, and suggests that lessons can already be learned from countries that have completed the transition from analogue to digital terrestrial television. Most notably, successful transitions have allowed the terrestrial television platform to expand its service offering to viewers, thereby encouraging an initial market-led transition to digital technology.
“The status of digital switchover varies around the world. This new DigiTAG Guide seeks to help those countries beginning the process learning from the experiences of those countries having completed switchover,” noted Lieven Vermaele, President of DigiTAG and Director of Technology and Innovation at the European Broadcasting Union (EBU).
“The new DigiTAG Guide also provides insight into the frequency management issues that national administrations will need to consider over the next few years. National administrations must provide clarity on their plans for the use of UHF spectrum and how the decisions they make will impact the DTT platform. It is only with the guarantee of continued spectrum availability that it will be possible for broadcast service providers to invest in the future development of the DTT platform. The coming years will provide many new opportunities and challenges on the DTT platform. To succeed in the long term, the DTT platform must retain its flexibility and agility,” he advised.
DigiTAG warns that the completion of digital switchover does not signify that digital migration iscompleted, noting that the DTT platform continues to evolve as new services and technologies are developed. There is also pressure on broadcast spectrum as frequencies traditionally reserved for broadcast television services, in the UHF band (470 MHz to 862 MHz) and the VHF band (173 MHz to 230 MHz), are being reconsidered.
DigiTAG relaunched mid-December 2012 with the new goal of promoting DTT broadcasting and protecting the spectrum it needs on a global basis. DigiTAG also announced that it would become technology-neutral in order to best represent the entire terrestrial broadcast industry.