Market Insight

Czech Republic about to complete digital switch-over

February 17, 2012

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CME-owned TV Nova is negotiating the final switch-off of analogue transmissions in the Zlin and Jesenik regions of the Czech Republic, which will complete the transition to digital terrestrial TV ahead of the scheduled deadline, June 2012. According to the Czech Telecommunications Office there are still 30 analogue transmitters which the free-to-air market-leading TV Nova uses in the Zlin region. TV Nova is currently negotiating the switch off of the transmitters before the scheduled time with the transmission company, Ceske Radiokomunikace. It is not known when the negotiations will finish.

Transition to digital started in the Czech Republic in 2007. Currently there are ten DTT channels on three multiplexes covering just under 100 per cent of homes. The last multiplex, multiplex 4, broadcasting three channels, was recently sold by Telefonica O2 to Digital Broadcasting. The new operator is planning to extend the reach of the multiplex from its current level of 20 per cent of homes to national coverage by the end of 2012. Multiplex 4 as the only one in Czech Republic applied MPEG-4 compression format, which enables among others HDTV (there are two HD channels on it: CTV HD and Nova HD). One more channel, TV Pohoda, is expected to launch on multiplex 4 shortly.

Ceske Radiokomunikace is also intending to launch newer technologies. The company has recently started DVB-T2 test and it is planning to launch a fully-fledged DVB-T2 broadcast in the four major cities (Prague, Brno, Ostrava and Plzen) this year before the Olympic Games. As the transition to digital has been quite successful, terrestrial broadcasters decided to switch off analogue broadcasts before scheduled deadlines to cut the costs of transmission. Public CTV ended analogue broadcast of its CTV1 and CTV2 in November 2011, and MTG-owned Prima TV did the same in January 2012.

Estonia, Latvia, Croatia, and Slovenia have already switched off analogue transmissions. By the end of 2012, besides the Czech Republic, three more countries in central and eastern Europe will have followed them: Slovakia, Hungary and Lithuania. Poland is planning to switch off analogue in mid-2013.

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