Row over obsolete French DTT tuners

By Robert Briel
March 30, 2010 10.38 UK

Between 300,000 and 500,000 French DTT tuners are in danger of becoming obsolete when a new frequency scheme will come into effect, according to the French Consumers’ Association UFC-Que Choisir.

According to the Association, a large number of cheap entry-level tuners are not compatible with the new frequency plan proposed by the media authority CSA, which was due to come into effect this May 5th. The measure will be taken in order to increase the number of channels available on the digital terrestrial network, but the Association found out that hundreds of thousands of DVB-T receivers will not be able to handle the new frequency scheme.

Following a public row about the matter, the CSA has decided to postpone the technical ’switchover’, originally scheduled for May 5th. An alternative technical solution has now been provisionally adopted by the authority and the original plan has been postponed to 2013.

The CSA hopes that the government will use this time to require manufacturers and distributors to take the measures necessary for compliance of DTT receivers marketed.

In a related development, the authority has opened up a new round of applications for the two DTT channels that have become vacant after the closure of Canal J in April 2009 and AB1 in the autumn of 2008. The two new licneces will be issued to premium pay-TV channels only.