Digital television is a much more efficient way of distributing television programmes to the public than the earlier analogue techniques. Furthermore digital technnology offers the broadcaster a great deal of flexibility in determining what kinds and numbers of services to offer through the available frequency spectrum. Digital transmission capacity using DVB-T, or DVB-T2 modulation, can be traded to provide higher or lower quality, more or less numbers of programme services, and various levels of robustess of reception for services targetted at various reception scenarios, whether for fixed roof-top antenna reception, or portable or even mobile use.
Most of Europe will have converted to all-digital TV broadcasting by 2015.
The ITU-R created the 'Geneva 06' frequency plan to ensure a fair and equitable provision of frequency spectrum in the VHF and UHF broadcasting bands for the whole of the 'Region 1' area which includes Africa, Europe, the Middle East and Russia. The rate of conversion of countries from Analogue to Digital varies, but many parts of Western Europe are already all-digital, and most countries of the European Union will have turned off their analogue transmitters by the end of 2012. The GE-06 plan is an International Treaty of the United Nations. Under this treaty analogue services will no longer be protected from interference from neighbouring countries unless local negotiations have agreed a time extension.
So there is a bit of a rush building up as the late starter countries try to ensure that they will not be left behind by the onward march of new technology.
If you'd like more information please feel free to contact Avocette at the contact address below, and we'll do our best to answer your questions or put you in touch with someone who can. You may also find a lot of useful further reading on the websites of the three organisations mentioned in the column on the right.
DigiTAG (Digital Terrestrial Television Action Group).
For more information about the geographic roll-out of digital TV services and to download DigiTAG Handbooks on many implementation aspects of the technology in use, check the DigiTAG website.
DVB (Digital Video Broadcasting Project).
For more detailed technical information about the ETSI standards used for digital TV and implementation guidelines try starting with the DVB website.
EBU Technology and Development.
The Technical Department of the EBU and the specialists from its members have worked tirelessly to prepare and present information about the digital TV developments, and to influence their constructive use within the broadcasting environment. More information on the EBU Technical website.