Danish switch-over completed

By Robert Briel
November 1, 2009 10.27 UK

In the night from October 31 and November 1, the Danish public broadcaster Danmarks Radio switched off its remaining analogue television transmitters and is now “all digital.” At the same time, the new high definition channel DR HD was launched.

Danmarks Radio (DR) operates two nationwide multiplexes. On the first multiplex, the broadcaster transmits its national channels DR1 and DR2 as well as the semi-public TV2 channel; also, a number of local and regional broadcasters are accommodated on this multiplex. As a special service, DR broadcasts all newscasts between 17.00 and 20.00 hours simultaneous with sign language.

On the second multiplex, DR has launched three new channels, the high definition channel DR HD, the kids channel Ramasjang and the culture channel DR K. Also new on terrestrial is DR Update, a news channel and the parliamentary channel Folketinget.

DR HD will broadcast only 100% native HD material, according to the broadcaster. The channel will broadcast daily from 18.00 till midnight and in the weekends from 16.00 till 1.00 in the morning. Programming will consist of movies, TV series and documentaries.

Danish viewers must buy a MPEG4 terrestrial receiver in order to receive the second mutliplex. The first mux will continue to be available in MPEG2. Satellite viewers subscribing to Canal Digitla will also be able to see some of the new channels.

The analogue switch-off also posed some problems for the German cabler Kabel Deutschland KDG, who distributes the two main Danish channels DR1 and TV2 in analogue to about 50,000 Danish speaking people living in the Northern part of Germany (South Schleswig) near the border under a special agreement between the broadcaster and the operator signed in 2006. KDG has now decided to receive the digital signals off air and distribute these in analogue.

“It is essential for the dissemination of Danish culture and identity to the Danish minority south of the border that you are able to watch Danish television. DR and TV 2 have together lobbied for more than a year to attain a future-proof settlement with Kabel Deutschland. We have finally succeeded, and we are very happy with the solution, “said Mette Bock., programme director of production at DR, in a statement. In the future, the two channels will (also) be distributed digitally on the KDG network in South Schleswig.