Slovak public broadcaster STV ended its analogue terrestrial broadcast at the beginning of this month (September), beating the main commercial stations; J&T-owned TV JOJ and CME-owned Markiza, which started to close down their analogue stations in July this year but have yet to complete the process. Currently, two DTT multiplexes both cover practically all of Slovakia's territory, broadcasting in total six channels: STV's Jednotka and Dvojka, and private stations, TV Markiza, TV Doma (CME-owned), TV JOJ and TV JOJ Plus (owned by J&T Media Enterprises). Both multiplexes are operated by Towercom, which also owns a satellite TV platform SkyLink, present in Slovakia and in the Czech Republic. Completion of analogue switch-off in Slovakia is planned for 2012.
Although DTT launched in Slovakia in 2009, it has been slow to develop into a compelling enough offer to attract a large viewer base. Only two new channels have been launched on the terrestrial platform: TV Doma and JOJ Plus (both from media groups owing the two commercial terrestrial channels). At the same time public sport channel, Trojka, was shut due to STV's financial problems. Further, although there have been some tests of HD on DTT, but as yet, no HD channels.
Currently, all the DTT channels in Slovakia broadcast in MPEG-2 compression. With one multiplex reserved for the public broadcaster and four channels already on multiplex 2, it is very unlikely any new channels could launch before complete analogue switch off. However, the lack of public stations - and in some regions also private channels - on analogue terrestrial will now accelerate transition to digital. A digital information campaign which started in Slovakia in January or February 2011, is focusing primarily on DTT, which is giving it the edge over the other platforms. But the poor DTT channel line-up remains a significant handicap, with satellite still taking market share thanks to its cheap package offers. Screen Digest forecasts that DTT will ultimately serve as a primary source of on just 10 per cent of Slovakia's TVs.
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