The French government is considering giving up its idea of ‘bonus’ channels in favour of introducing a 100% HD digital terrestrial platform.
Originally, France intended to issue the three major private broadcasters, TF1, M6 and Canal+, with an extra digital terrestrial channel in order to compensate them for the loss of their analogue frequency. By going digital, these three ‘traditional’ broadcasters now face more competition from others in the digital terrestrial environment.
However, the European Commission has doubts about the legality of issuing bonus channels and has hinted it might start legal action against the French government should it move ahead with the plan.
The idea now brewing with the French government is to concentrate on turning the whole DTT offer in a 100% HD offer. This would be a major operation involving a complete overhaul of all the multiplexes. At the same time, most receivers bought by French consumers since 2005 would become obsolete.
On the upside, by switching from DVB-T/MPEG-2 to DVB-T2/MEPG-4, the number of possible channels would increase with 12 – 15 on the existing multiplexes as well as making a 100% HD offer possible.