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France to set pace for digital TV in Europe: Study

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MUMBAI: France has set a new benchmark for European digital television (DTV) policy.

Strategy Analytics Broadband Media and Communications service has come out with a study Digital TV Transition: Europe Watches France's Mandates As Terrestrial HDTV Arrives.

France's new 'TV of the Future' law has taken an important step towards high definition television (HDTV) on the digital terrestrial television (DTT) platform by allocating capacity for HD channels and mandating HD tuners in HD-Ready TV sets.

These decisions will have ramifications for other countries in Europe, which will watch these developments with interest. There will also be important lessons from the French approach to licensing HD channels that takes place over the next few months.

According to this report, the decisions made in France will put increased pressure on other European countries to accelerate their own policies towards HD on DTT platforms.

Strategy Analytics principal analyst David Mercer says, "Most other European countries are still at the discussion stage regarding the introduction of HDTV on their DTT platforms.

"France has taken an important lead by allocating the capacity for HDTV and ensuring that future HDTVs will be able to receive these new channels. The industry will be satisfied that France has set clear policy goals on these important issues."

Also according to the report, France's plan to switch off analogue television broadcasts by 30 November, 2011 remains an ambitious goal, given much of the country's still heavy dependence on those signals. But the country's aggressive top-down approach to policy setting gives much-needed clarity to industry decision makers, which will allow technology vendors and service providers to plan with confidence.

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