Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Dutch public broadcast transmission goes digital

The Dutch public stations Netherlands 1, 2 and 3 and the regional stations will change from analogue into digital brodcasts in the night of November 26 to 27, 2006. The signals will be accessible for free and without a smart card. The old television aerials will disappear from the skyline for as far as they were still visible, as the Netherlands is one of most dense cabled country in the world.

The regional public stations will also be allowed to beam up programs to satellites. The stations will get 2 million euro extra for this. This will give the station a new wider footprint and a new audience.

For those households which do not have a cable connection, a decoder without a smartcard can be bought for 30 to 50 euro.

Some 74.000 Dutch households are still watching television using aerials. This type of aerials is also used for television sets in holiday homes. In total, 220.000 aerials will be removed.

The change-over in October 2006 had been criticised by trade organisation, consumer electronic shops and politicians. In order to postpone the change-over a financial deal had to be reached between the ministries and the stations. Also the obligatory smartcard reader on the decoder was abolished. By postponing the change-over for a month, the stations are able to prepare for the change-over, the shops are able to stock up and the television owners can remove their aerials and replace it with a decoder. An advertisement campaign will carry the message across to owners with an aerial.

The Netherlands is the first European country, which changes over to digital public television. Many commercial television stations have changed over some time ago.
Once in the late fifties the rake shaped aerials were a symbol of wealth, but common in the seventies. Then the cable took care of their disappearance of the aerials from the roofs of the houses in towns and cities; only houses in the rural area still had the rake shaped aerials. Now only dish antennas can be seen in the street for people picking up programs from other countries.


Blog Posting Number: 490

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