Norway completes ASO

Almost 50 years of analogue television broadcasting have come to an end in Norway. Transmitters in Troms and Finnmark were switched off at 13.30 yesterday (December 1). The button was pressed by Culture secretary Lotte Grepp Knutsen and the transport secretary Erik Lahnstein.

The switch off marks the end of a relatively short transmission period. The first digital signals only went live in Stavanger on September 1, 2007, enabling Norway to use the relatively new MPEG-4 compression system, rather than MPEG-2 that was initially used in countries that had made the move earlier.

Norway’s topography means that some areas are unable to receive signals by either satellite or terrestrial transmitters, requiring the construction of special ‘shadow’ networks. Many of the homes served by the shadow networks have only been able to receive a single NRK channel, but the digital transition means they will be able to enjoy a minimum of three TV channels and 12 radio channels.

The terrestrial network consists of 430 transmitters that broadcast 25 TV channels and 16 radio channels.

Pay-TV operation Riks TV is reporting 435,000 subscribers with a further 100,000 receiving the public free-to-air channels.