The Estonian DTT service ZUUMtv had 6,500 subscribers at the end of October. Launched in December 2006 and available to 93% of households, its target of 50,000 subscribers within two years is now, according to local sources, looking like a tall order.
Two problems have so far plagued the service, which is operated by the leading Estonian MSO Starman and transmission company Levira. Firstly, the local free-to-air (FTA) commercial channels Kanal 2 and TV3 have opted out of adding digital transmission costs, with the only other local channel available in DTT being publicly owned ETV. This should nevertheless improve with the addition of three services – Kalev Sport and Kanal 2 and TV3 sister channels – in the next couple of months.
The second problem is quality. Although Estonia has opted for MPEG-4 compression, all the channels shown in DTT are originally in MPEG-2, resulting in deterioration in the picture offered.
ZUUMtv currently provides its subscribers a package of 20 channels.