04 maj 2007

23 analog towers yet to be turned offline

In roughly three weeks from now some areas up north in Sweden will turn their analog-transmitting terrestrial towers offline and turn over to digital-only transmissions. At this point in the project of turning off all the analog towers, a majority of them have completed the transition to digital-only. Approximately 64 % of Sweden's terrestrial viewers will by then have left the analog tv world behind.

In the meantime, my own survey made at an online forum showed that there are still a strong opposition against digital tv broadcasting over cable for those who now only view it in analog form. A company called ComHem is the dominant leader on the Swedish cable tv market and they insist via Press Releases that their customers do not have to do a single thing with their decision making for their future tv viewing. They can continue to watch analog tv via cable, not being bothered with any forced transitions. While such a thing normally is good, I am very displeased with the behaviour ComHem shows towards adoption of digital television in Sweden. The fact is, they dominate the market in this country and as such the broadcasting companies stand in the middle trying to figure out how they should proceed to make money off customers. Will it be either via analog or digital, will they focus solely on the old market that stands still or will they instead have their focus on the exciting growth in the digital television market? It can't be easy today for broadcasting companies to make bets.

Chicken and egg is not the biggest problem here, because the chicken already decided that digital television is the future. No .. the problem is whether the cable tv industry here will act for the better of the consumers and broadcasters. They hold the last piece of the puzzle and so far they have resisted from helping the rest to solve the puzzle. Why is that? With going 100 % digital in cable transmissions, the legacy that still remains can finally be a thing of the past and the circle will be complete once and for all.

But I'll just continue to dream and monitor the growth for digital cable among Swedes, see how it progresses. No records I've seen show any real signs of interest in households for future's television, but once the analog terrestrial network goes entirely offline (100 %) late this year, the market outside the analog cable world will eventually show people how to do things right:

Electronic Program Guide (EPG), Scheduling of recordings for tv shows and movies, Widescreen support and anamorphic capabilities, DVD quality with standard definition signals and HD quality now and in the future, nisched channels popping up to serve certain audiences, etc.

More to come as things progress! :-)

Update, 2007/05/29: There are now 16 towers left instead of 23 and less than 100 days until the "digitalization".