Advanced Television

RAI to switch to DVB-T2 in September

January 29, 2024

From Branislav Pekic in Rome

Italian public broadcaster RAI has finally committed to switching one of its multiplexes to the new DVB-T2 transmission standard on September 1st.

This was confirmed by RAI’s technology director, Stefano Ciccotti, during a presentation in Bologna. In addition, the new date is outlined in the new RAI Service Contract recently signed with the Italian government.

However, given RAI’s track record of postponing such transitions, there are doubts about whether this deadline will be met. Ciccotti himself acknowledged this, citing previously missed deadlines and changes in plans.

The new multiplex will initially carry the three main RAI channels in simulcast with DVB-T2 and DVB-T, to test whether the new standard can indeed address interference and propagation issues, especially during the summer months in the Triveneto, Emilia-Romagna, and the Piedmont regions.

The exact composition of the multiplex is still unknown.

Minister of Culture Gennaro Sangiuliano had previously called for RAI to switch to DVB-T2 as early as January 10th. However, this was met with concerns from RAI about potential disruptions during major sporting events like the upcoming Paris Olympics and European Football Championships.

The remaining RAI multiplexes will follow a future timetable, yet to be defined by the Ministry of Economy and Made in Italy.

The transition to DVB-T2, it should be noted, does not necessarily involve adopting the HEVC video compression standard, for which there are no temporal obligations for adoption.

The switch to DVB-T2 frees up valuable frequency spectrum for 5G mobile services, offering improved picture quality and more efficient transmission.

The Service Contract also highlights RAI’s interest in DVB-I and 5G Broadcast technologies by using dedicated UHF frequencies to broadcast the TV signal using 5G technology.

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