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France takes lead in European HDTV

1 March 2007

According to a new Strategy Analytics report, France’s new ‘TV of the Future’ law has seen it leapfrog other countries in deploying HDTV on DTT. France has set a new benchmark for European digital television policy, according to ‘Digital TV Transition: Europe Watches France’s Mandates As Terrestrial HDTV Arrives’, the latest research from the Strategy Analytics Broadband Media and Communications service, writes Fergal Ringrose.

France’s new ‘TV of the Future’ law has taken an important step towards HDTV on the digital terrestrial television platform by allocating capacity for HD channels and mandating HD tuners in HD-Ready TV sets. These decisions will have ramifications for other countries in Europe, which will watch these developments with interest. There will also be important lessons from the French approach to licensing HD channels that takes place over the next few months. According to this report, the decisions made in France will put increased pressure on other European countries to accelerate their own policies towards HD on DTT platforms.

“Most other European countries are still at the discussion stage regarding the introduction of HDTV on their DTT platforms,” notes David Mercer, principal analyst at Strategy Analytics. “France has taken an important lead by allocating the capacity for HDTV and ensuring that future HDTVs will be able to receive these new channels. The industry will be satisfied that France has set clear policy goals on these important issues.”

Also according to the report, France’s plan to switch off analogue television broadcasts by 30 November 2011 remains an ambitious goal, given much of the country’s still heavy dependence on those signals. But the country’s aggressive top-down approach to policy setting gives much-needed clarity to industry decision makers, which will allow technology vendors and service providers to plan with confidence.

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