EU sets 2012 date for digital TV

EU ministers have a set a Europe-wide date for the switch from analogue to digital TV broadcasts, and it is 2012. This suits the UK (and we currently hold the EU Presidency) as our own government-set date for switching has drifted from the original 2010 to 2012.

A European Commission spokesman said that 10 of the 25 member states expect to go digital by 2010 but five have made no indication of whether they will make the change by 2012, reports Reuters,.

‘We agreed today that most EU countries will try to complete the transition from analogue to digital television broadcasting by 2012. That is an important development,’ the agency quotes the UK’s Minister of State for Industry and the Regions, Alun Michael.

The switch to digital broadcasts, which will enable the incorporation of new service features and deeper integration with computing hardware, will also free up the spectrum of analogue radio waves. Discussions have begun in the EU on how best to create a market to allow trading in radio wavebands and encourage innovative gadget development.

In September, Culture Secretary Tessa Jowell formally announced that 2012 will mark the cut off point of analogue television broadcasts in the UK.

With early pilots in Wales considered a success, the analogue signals will now be turned off on the basis of ITV regions, starting with the Borders ITV region in 2008.

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