Nearly 100,000 Estonian households only watch digital terrestrial TV (DTT) services.
Furthermore, according to the findings of a recent study by Kantar Emor and published by Levira, the total number of viewers dependent on DTT services now stands at nearly 200,000. Also, the average age of TV sets receiving DTT services has risen over the last year, meaning that many people still do not have access to HD channels.
Commenting on these statistics, Tiit Tammiste, chairman of the management board of AS Levira, said: “It is possible to watch digital TV broadcasts over the air in sparsely populated areas where there is no cable network. Through the Levira masts and the antenna, TV also reaches the less well-off families who watch free-to-air ERR channels with an antenna and use an older TV. Furthermore, digital broadcasting channels, in addition to radio, are a good means of conveying important messages in a crisis situation”.
Tammiste also said that at the moment the number of viewers of digital terrestrial broadcasting services is definitely higher, because due to the emergency situation many people have temporarily moved to the countryside where otherwise only mobile internet can be used and there is no permanent cable TV connection. At the same time, TV channels can be watched everywhere in Estonia with a standard antenna, thus reducing the burden on mobile internet.
According Kantar Emor, the percentage of TV models older than four years used by digital viewers has increased from 38% to 56%. So-called ‘second-round’ TVs, which are no longer the main family TV, are widely used. An additional 3,000 families watch TVs and their share has fallen from 28% to 18% of digital TV viewers.
Tammiste added: “Although you can watch HD-quality TV images terrestrially in Estonia, it is wise to keep parallel broadcasting in the SD format so that owners of older TV sets do not lose use their TV signal or have to (yet) buy a new TV set or set-top box.”.
In a letter sent to the public broadcaster ERR, the Ministry of Culture and the Ministry of Finance, Levira announced that, according to the agreement between ERR and Levira, the company is ready to continue broadcasting SD and HD quality TV images in 2021 and 2022. Levira asked for budgeting to take into account the need for duplication and to plan spending accordingly.