The number of homes watching digital terrestrial television (DTT) on their main set will reach 44.9m by 2011, according to a new research report by Informa Telecoms & Media. That represents 16.6% of European TV households, compared with 4.5% of TV homes—or 12m homes—that had access to DTT at the end of 2005.
The report, European Switchover Strategies, says that rapid growth of some DTT services has prompted pay-TV operators to begin voicing criticism over what they perceive as preferential treatment for DTT.
The 120-page report says the stronger-than-anticipated success of DTT in several countries, including France, Germany and Sweden, means that many European nations will meet the EC's switchover target. Last May European media commissioner Viviane Reding called on member states to set 2012 as the deadline for switchover across the EC.
Report author Simon Dyson said: "DTT coverage in France is expected to reach 70% of the country by the end of 2006 and 85% by the end of 2007, with a target completion date for switchover planned for 2010.
"Germany's move from analogue to digital is also progressing well. While the country has set a provisional date of 2010, the progress of digital-terrestrial launches means it might happen as soon as the end of 2008."
Dyson said Sweden, one of the first countries to launch a digital terrestrial service, is likely to be one of the first to switch off analogue transmissions, in 2008.
Last week UK media regulator Ofcom said strong growth of Freeview, the UK's DTT service, had helped push digital penetration to more than 70% of all households. Ofcom expects 95% of homes to have taken up digital television by the end of 2010.
[source: Informa Telecoms & Media]
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