The German analogue DTH switch-off has come a step closer now that the state media authorities suggest all broadcasters end their analogue satellite broadcasts on April 30, 2012.
The advice of the media authorities comes after the consultation of Dr. Hans Hege, who is in charge of the digitalisation project with the Kommission für Zulassung und Aufsicht (ZAK), and the broadcasters, both public and private. ZAK is a commission of the media authorities.
“A concrete switch-off date, from which there will be no more analogue broadcasts via satellite, creates clarity for everyone involved,” said Thomas Langheinrich, chairman of ZAK.
The state media authorities took the step of fixing a date after the latest Digitalisation Report 2009 showed that at this moment over 70% of all German satellite TV households now watch digital DTH (see our sister publication New Television Insider for a review of the results).
The authorities stress that special attention should be paid to the interests of the cable operators, which still use analogue satellite reception to feed their analogue signals into the networks. A simultaneous switch-off should avoid disadvantages for smaller broadcasters as part of the conversion process. Analogue satellite switch-off should also help the progress of digitalisation of the cable networks, according to Dr. Hege.
Earlier, the public channels ARD and ZDF already set their provisional switch-off date for all of their analogue broadcasts, including all regional variations, on the Astra satellite. “We welcome the initiative to establish a common date for the switch-off by the regional media authorities,” said ARD spokesman Harald Dietz, who also confirmed that ARD will switch off all analogue satellite broadcasts on April 30, 2012.
The VPRT, the association of private broadcasters, has also welcomed the initiative of the media authorities. VPRT President Jürgen Doetz said: “A fixed switch-off date creates predictability for viewers, broadcasters and the consumer electronics industry. The VPRT therefore supports the proposal by the state media authorities with regards to satellite.”
The association also seeks a similar time-table for the analogue switch-off of cable networks.