Likely Delay in European Digital TV Switchover

29 July 2005

The recent prophecy that the UK's digital TV switchover will fail to meet its deadline [WAMN: 08-Apr-05] has been extended to cover the whole of western Europe.

A new report from research and publishing group Informa Telecoms Media forecasts that none of the fifteen countries investigated - including the UK, France, Germany, Italy and Spain - will achieve their goal of analogue signal switchoff by the dates they have specified.

With many countries facing resistance from consumers unwilling to upgrade to digital hardware, the study predicts the UK will miss its deadline by three years, finally flicking the digital switch in 2015.

Germany is forecast to achieve its changeover by 2016 compared with the target date of 2010, while Italy will lag even further behind, missing its target date of 2006 by fourteen years.

Although several governments have pushed for a digital switchover to free-up analogue spectrum for use by businesses, author of the Informa report Adam Thomas, believes that they should go further. He recommends the provision of greater subsidies if the switchover dates are to be met.

Despite the doom and gloom, the report forecasts that 31% of households in western Europe will be able to receive digital TV broadcasts by the end of 2005, rising to 65% in 2010.

IPTV (Internet Protocol TV) services, whereby television is broadcast via broadband, will fare less well. Just 6% of UK and German homes and 10% of French households are expected to access the platform by 2010.

Data sourced from: Financial Times; additional content by WARC staff