Critical Issues and Implications of Digital TV Transition

Critical Issues and Implications of Digital TV Transition

In-Sook Jung (Kyungwon University, Korea)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-014-1.ch039
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Abstract

Since the inception of digital terrestrial TV (DTT) in the United Kingdom on September 23, 1998, many countries have developed keen interests in this changing landscape of digital television. Soon after, the U.S. also started DTT on November 1, 1998, and other countries such as Germany, France, Japan, and Korea would join the technological trend. Most countries are scheduling the transition of analog TV into digital TV by around 2010 (Table 1). In the digitalization process, each government has two main concerns; one is about when the conversion from analog to digital TV (DTV) is scheduled, and the other is about how smoothly the schedule is completed. While the U.S. currently set analog switch-off for February 17, 2009, the European Commission has planned that switchover from analog TV should be completed in Member States by 2012. The spectrum plans of Member States in the EU said to be flexible enough to allow the introduction of other electronic communications services, along with DTT (Indepen, Ovum, & Fathom, 2005). According to EU Directive, the UK is planning to finish the switchover in 2012 and Germany in 2010. In Asia, South Korea is expected to be completed in 2010, Japan in 2011, and China in 2015. Unlike government-announced timetables, each country has some difficulties in keeping for the transition process so that the successful conversion within the scheduled timeline may not be possible. Thus, this article first examines which kinds of problems and alternatives are emerging in the policy process for DTV transition in several countries. Secondly, it attempts to find the global implication from what sorts of DTV transition issues are observed in most countries and from how they are broaching the problems of existing regulation systems and the social conflicts among stockholders, especially in Asian countries.
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Introduction

Since the inception of digital terrestrial TV (DTT) in the United Kingdom on September 23, 1998, many countries have developed keen interests in this changing landscape of digital television. Soon after, the U.S. also started DTT on November 1, 1998, and other countries such as Germany, France, Japan, and Korea would join the technological trend. Most countries are scheduling the transition of analog TV into digital TV by around 2010 (Table 1).

Table 1.
National DTT transition timetable
     NationDateNation     Date
Germany2002 DTV launch
Ongoing on a regional basis with end date of 2010
U.S.1998 DTV launch
2010 Switch-off (Berlin/Bradenburg, swith-off on August 4, 2003)
Japan2003 DTV launch
2011 Analog Switch-off
United Kingdom1998 DTV launch
Partially ending from 2008
2012 Analog Switch-off
Sweden1999 DTV launch
Partially ending from 2005
2008 February Analog Switch-off
Australia2011 Analog Switch-off
CanadaNo switch-off dateItaly2003 DTV launch
2011 Analog Switch-off
Finland2001 DTV launch
2010 Analog Switch-off
Norway2009 Analog Switch-off
Spain2000 DTV launch
2010 Analog Switch-off
Austria2010 Analog Switch-off
Hungary2012 Analog Switch-offBelgium2012 Analog Switch-off
Greece2012 Analog Switch-offSlovenia2012 Analog Switch-off
Malaysia2008 DTV launch
2015 Analog Switch-off
Netherlands2003 DTV launch
No switch-off date
Switzerland2004 DTV launch
2015 Analog Switch-off
Denmark2005 DTV launch
No switch-off date
Luxemburg2002 DTV launch
No switch-off date
Korea2001 DTV launch
2010 Analog Switch-off
(over 95% Penetration)

Key Terms in this Chapter

Non-Voluntary Conversion: The conversion of equipment, which would not have been converted until the analog cutoff date.

Plug & Play Rule: The rule is to be suggested that consumers directly connect cable with DTV sets without set top boxes.

DTT: Digital terrestrial TV.

DTV Transition: Switchover from analog to digital broadcasting.

Digital Tuner Mandate: The rule that all TV sets that have analog tuners must also contain tuners capable of receiving digital over-the-air broadcasts in the U.S.

Multicast: A set of technologies or programming that enables efficient delivery of data to many locations on a network. This technology can make it possible to “multi-cast” four standard-definition pictures through the only one high-definition band.

Must-Carry Rule: The retransmission rule has been considered as a device to protect the terrestrial broadcasting from being devaluated compared to the toll broadcasting in most countries.

Digital TV (DTV): A new type of broadcasting technology that will allow broadcasters to offer television with movie-quality picture and CD-quality sound, along with a variety of other enhancements. DTV technology can also be used to transmit large amounts of other data into the home, which may be accessible by using a computer or television set.

Internet Protocol Television (IPTV): A two-way multimedia service that allows viewers to watch broadcasts and movies through high speed Internet, providing interactive services like TV commerce and TV education.

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