Spain backs HDTV over DTT

Iñaki Ferreras


Spain is one of the few advanced European countries without - until now - plans for HDTV content over DTT. There have been some test channels such as those recently from national public broadcaster TVE, as well as Catalan public broadcaster TV3's or Aragón regional public broadcaster Aragón TV.

But now the Ministry of Industry, Tourism and Commerce is mandating a series of measures and technical plans which will allow the birth of HDTV over DTT with the assignment of its digital muxes. It had been planned for new legislation to be introduced in Spain's new General Audiovisual Law which was to have been formally announced last March. The draft law did not get endorsed by parliament.

The new HDTV scheme will be exploited by those companies which have a complete mux allocated on the DTT plan, meaning that four digital channels per mux can be transmitted when Spain's analogue switch off happens on April 3rd, 2010.

Apart from RTVE, which will have two complete muxes, another six private broadcasters will count on a complete mux each within ten months time. These broadcasters include Grupo Planeta's Antena 3, Mediaset's Telecinco, Grupo Prisa's Sogecable, Mediapro's laSexta, Unidad Editorial's Veo TV and Voncento's Net TV.

In order to be able to start the HDTV transmissions over DTT it'll be necessary for an official authorization to take place in according to the new law. The text fixes the technical conditions for the broadcasters, such as the fact the video resolution will be 720 p as minimum in 16:9 format.

In order to promote HDTV technology the government wants all new TV sets of more than 21 inches in size to incorporate a DTT tuner with HDTV functionality.