German cable operator wilhelm.tel will terminate analogue TV carriage across its network in northern Germany.
Kick-off will be in Norderstedt where analogue switch-off will gradually take place between January 15 and March 25, 2018.
With the move, the subsidiary of municipal utilities provider Stadtwerke Norderstedt wants to put an end to the uneven situation that analogue and digital channels occupy practically the same share of cable capacity, but the analogue channels only account for 9% of the total of channels distributed on the network. Analogue cable TV is, thus, “anything but efficient”, wilhelm.tel underlines in a statement, adding that the channels therefore have to make way for digital services.
“Around 300 new channels, whether it’s SD, HD or Ultra HD, can be added to the network this way. As many of them as possible should contain free-to-air programmes as the willingness to spend money for TV channels in HD instead of SD quality seems to be low,” said Theo Weirich, managing director marketing and sales at wilhelm.tel.
Through a test, the cable company wants to identify the households affected by analogue switch-off. “Many customers don’t know whether they watch analogue or digital channels. And we also don’t know it,” said Nicolas Fahl, project head of cable 4.0 at wilhelm.tel. “And so, we came up with the idea of a test day. On November 28, 2017, we will place an on-screen caption onto all analogue channels five minutes per hour between 08.55 and 19.55 CET. Viewers seeing the information are affected by analogue switch-off. All others can continue as before,” explained Fahl.
At its retail shop in Norderstedt, wilhelm.tel offers digital receivers for affected customers. An “attractive proposition” is planned for viewers wanting to use this opportunity to buy a new TV set, according to Fahl. A special section on the company’s website also informs viewers about analogue switch-off.
The further coverage areas of wilhelm.tel’s cable network will be converted after Norderstedt to be able to make use of the experiences collected in the first analogue switch-off project, a spokesman told Broadband TV News. Analogue radio stations will not be affected.
The company serves Norderstedt and surrounding regions with TV, internet and telephony through its fibre-optic network.