ARD open for transition to DVB-T2

Jörn Krieger | 12-09-2012

German public broadcaster ARD wants to hold onto the digital terrestrial distribution of its TV channels and would be open to a transition from the currently employed transmission standard DVB-T to the successor system DVB-T2 which enables more channels and HDTV offerings via DTT.

This landmark decision on terrestrial distribution was made by ARD's general directors at their latest meeting in Saarbrücken. Digital terrestrial broadcasting would be crucial for the universal availability and free reception of public broadcasting content, according to their statement.

As a successor to DVB-T, the public broadcaster supports a hybrid solution in which conventional TV channels would be transmitted via DVB-T2 in HD quality while interactive services such as catch-up TV portals would be sent to TV screens using IP-based infrastructures such as Wi-Fi or mobile networks. The system should also support portable and mobile reception, for example on smartphones or tablets.

Due to the contracts for the existing DVB-T transmitter network and the investments made in the past, ARD's entry into DVB-T2 would be possible between 2016 and 2018 at the earliest. The transition from DVB-T to DVB-T2 would be performed with the target of saving costs. The amount of terrestrial broadcast spectrum required by ARD for DVB-T2 would be the same as currently occupied on DVB-T in the medium to long term. Viewers need new reception devices as DVB-T receivers aren't suitable for DVB-T2.

However, it is currently unclear whether the commercial broadcasters would support the transition to DVB-T2. In ARD's view, the availability of commercial channels is absolutely necessary for market success of digital terrestrial broadcasting. The public broadcaster would therefore follow with great interest how the commercial broadcasters will position themselves in this issue. At the same time, ARD's directors affirmed that the public broadcaster's channels would continue to be transmitted unencrypted.