Portugal has started to switch off its analogue terrestrial transmitter network. Starting with Lisbon, all PAL transmitters will cease operation, with the last to be shut off on April 26.
The first phase started in greater Lisbon, followed by transmitters in the Algarve, Alentejo, North of Lisbon and beyond.
The second phase of ASO begins on March 22 and covers Portugal’s islands of the Azores and Madeira, with all transmitters shut down by April 26.
Around 90% of Portuguese households receiving analogue signals are prepared to migrate towards digital services, according to the latest survey released by the national telecoms regulator, Anacom.
In order to prepare for the switch-off, the government started a publicity campaign with a ceremony in Lisbon in March 2011. The service is known as Terrestrial Digital Television (TDT) and was launched on April, 29, 2009 with four free-to-air (FTA) channels and a HD test channel.
The offers consists of a simulcast of the four main analogue broadcasters, the two public channels RTP 1 and RTP 2, and private broadcasters SIC (Sociedade Independente de Comunicação) and TVI.
For the Azores and Madeira Islands there are the regional public channels RTP Açores and RTP Madeira. The DVB-T service also includes a HD pilot channel.
The TDT service has two different licences: one for the management of the FTA network and frequencies, and one for the management and distribution of pay-TV channels and content. Portugal Telecom has acquired both licences.
Anacom’s objective was to have five TDT FTA channels (including a new 5th FTA channel) and a paid TV offer of around 40 channels. The plan for a paid TV offer was abandoned when PT announced that they were returning the paid TV licence to Anacom. Anacom returned the €2.5 million paid by PT for the licences.
The creation of the fifth TV channel has also been criticised by the main private broadcasters – TVI and SIC, who argued that the television advertising market is already saturated and a new broadcaster would be detrimental to existing channels.