A group Belgian viewers has launched a petition to save the digital terrestrial DVB-T broadcasts of Flemish pubcaster VRT, that are due to terminate in December.
The end of digital terrestrial broadcasts concerns VRT’s three main channels Eén, Canvas and Ketnet, that are now available free-to-air across the country. Instead, the broadcaster said it will concentrate on its internet-delivered VRT Nu service.
The group, calling itself Antennekijker (Antenna viewers) said: “Today, the majority of VRT’s terrestrial broadcasts are received by Flemish people who, for various reasons, do not have a cable connection or a high-speed internet connection at home. In remote homes where it is commercially unattractive for cable providers to build cable infrastructure, the antenna signal is often the only way to receive public service broadcasting.
“The terrestrial broadcasts are also essential for a relatively large group of Flemish people who need to be able to receive the TV signal on the move or on their mobile devices. We are thinking in particular of people on ships, truck drivers, boat students, youth movements, campers, cycling teams and cycling enthusiasts. Mobile TV reception is also required for alternative or temporary forms of housing such as holiday homes, mobile homes, caravans, houseboats and tiny houses.
“It is completely unacceptable that all these Flemish people should lose free and unrestricted access to the television offer of the public broadcaster VRT. It is unacceptable that the aerial viewer should be forced to switch to the VRT NU offer, which is totally unsuitable as a substitute for terrestrial television.”
The group also calls for the broadcaster to upgrade its transmission standard to DVB-T2 HD.
However, there still is the possibility that M7 Groups’s DVB-T2 pay TV platform Antenne TV will start carrying the three Flemish pub;ic channels. Last December, TV Vlaanderen launched its TV subscription via antenna in Flanders and Brussels.