[opendtv] Re: Netherlands switches off analogue TV

  • From: "Donald Koeleman" <donald.koeleman@xxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: <opendtv@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Mon, 18 Dec 2006 02:45:56 +0100

Hi Bert,

I was going to resply to Jeroen's post weren't that my pc crashed and after
rebooting most of the mail from the past few days no longer appeared in the
OE Inbox indexes (yes they have been in need of reconstruction for a while


Yes they cut of the analog signal, unfortunately. So let's welcome the
continously present noise.

Thank god they got rid of the ubiquitous mosquito noise a few months ago,
but this was more than compensated by other forms of noise. And even
somewhat acceptable channels (public broadcasters for instance) had to give
way to noise.

Some-one asked about HD well, they can't even provide SD, so forget about
HD. One of the Digitenne chief tech/operations guys told me this summer at
an HD get-to-gether that there would be no HD on Digitenne. The
Harmonic/Simac Broadcast release regarding the new head-end, that followed
mentioned about the AVC capabilities of the encoders allowing for new
services and HD, but sofar it makes more sense for them to add premium
football channels as they did recently (dumping ZDF, that had replaced ARD
which was completely blacked-out during the Worldcup period this summer,
which had replaced Natgeo, BTW, the premium Canal Plus channels were also
dumped just befor the worldcup, which allowed them to use 10 Mbit/s on the
widescreen version of Nederland 2 showing, matches)) or keep on friendly
terms with Mr. De Mol, by dumping a popular channel for his new 0909 premium
phonelines and re-runs.

As you can see from the long list above, bits come at a premium and they
already have to scramble for space to put channels on air.

Another major quality degradation! Sound level out of the stb that's perhaps
6 Db (no way to quantify properly) less than from the analog service (still
the standard in my opinion), so a serious need to turn up the tv's volume,
creating distortion and resulting in poorer dynamic range (needing a
volumelevel that gives one head-aches to make some sense of what's said and

As for Eindhoven, Jeroen your city was indeed one of the places reported
have absolutely no coverage, as judged by the one multiplex carrying the
public broadcasters and oddly enough CNN International, the full service
isn't even on the air yet in most of the country. BTW, there were also
pre-war broadcasts so Philip's Experimental Television in 1948 weren't the
country's first transmissions.

Yes Bert, all of the Digitenne/KPN-TV offering was a pay-service, including
the public broadcasters who have their own license for one of the five
multiplexes, although Nederland 2 was unscrambled.

The original plans were for this to remain the case people being forced to
buy more expensive boxes (conax cass) and a smartcard from KPN. Parliament
nixed this set-up and sent the cabinet back to KPN to renegociate, reducing
the budgetted savings, by an if I am not mistaken undisclosed/not made
explicit figure.

So who would pay for the DVB-T distribution? The broadcasters? They were
glad to be start paying less to the cable-co's for cariage. Cable fees have
at least (depends on when you start comparing) quadrupled in the past number
of years, only partly because of the shift in operators reveue sources from
broadcasters to subscribers. You probably missed the stirr a week or two
about the internal government document that calculated that cable fees would
have to grow fivefold to 83 euro's for the equity company's to make a return
on their investments.

Anyway let's leave that aside, as the point is that broadcasters no longer
need the (potential) thread of DVB-T to keep their cable distribution cost
under control, so why would they start paying more to KPN, just to shift
their universal coverage from cable to DVB-T.

As for DVB-S pricing the figures Jeroen mentioned are way under the actual
charges, as you have to add, the smartcard (well over 100 bucks, did
some-one yell rip-off;-)), the activation fee, the premium phoneline costs
(yes they publicly admitted years ago they keep people on hold to recuperate
costs), a service fee, and nowadays even a termination fee, all for just a
handfull of channels.

Anyway I wished we still had the analog picture and sound quality and could
have kept it for a few more years.

BTW, you know they gave up on the ideal of universal indoor coverage, yup
they want Mr. Yagi's legacy to return;-).

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Manfredi, Albert E" <albert.e.manfredi@xxxxxxxxxx>
To: <opendtv@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Sent: Monday, December 18, 2006 1:17 AM
Subject: [opendtv] Netherlands switches off analogue TV

This was reported by Jeroen Stessen already.

It says here that over the freed-up spectrum previously used by PAL TV,
only some public service broadcasts are carried free, and that the rest
is pay TV that competes with cable.

I suppose that does not imply that the DTT previously on the air had to
be all pay-TV, but from what Jeroen said before, that's mostly the case.
Under these circumstances, it seems easy to understand why 95 percent of
viewers subscribe to cable. Even more than in Germany before analog

Maybe KPN should try to offer FOTA TV in its terrestrial system. That
might be successful enough to retain use of that spectrum beyond 2017.
Seemed to work in the UK, and it also seems to have boosted OTA
viewership in Germany. (And maybe here too, as we discussed last week.)



Netherlands switches off analogue TV

Champagne corks were popping in Amsterdam last night as Dutch telco KPN
switched off analogue television transmitters in the Netherlands, making
it the first country to fully liberate the analogue TV spectrum for new
digital services. Though the switch is a landmark in the global
transition to digital-only broadcasting, few households in the country
will have noticed: only 74,000 homes relied exclusively on analogue TV
in a nation in which cable serves TV to 95% of the population.

KPN has a licence to use the liberated spectrum for digital TV
broadcasts until 2017. Under its licence it has had to invest in a new
digital terrestrial broadcasting infrastructure, and must carry public
service broadcast channels free of charge in return for access to the
rest of the spectrum, which is being used to offer pay-TV channels that
compete with cable.

KPN switched off analogue transmitters shortly after midnight. "Then we
broke out the champagne," said a KPN spokesman.

Though analogue TV signals are being switched off, the move does not
mean the Netherlands is fully digital: much of the country's cable TV is
still delivered via analogue cable networks.

Lovelace Consulting 12.12.2006

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