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RTL Germany to end DTT Transmissions this year. Could it happen here?


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Old 21-01-2013, 22:31
Everything Goes
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Germany's largest commercial broadcaster RTL is getting out of DTT broadcasting citing spiralling costs and an uncertain future as mobile phone operators grab all the good spectrum.

Broadcasting on Germany's terrestrial platform apparently costs "many times" what satellite transmissions do, and with satellite and cable so dominant, the terrestrial system accounts for less than 5 per cent of RTL's viewers.

RTL currently sees no economically reasonable option for continuing digital terrestrial television based on DVB-T, the company's statement, points out that terrestrial broadcasting hasn't enough space for HD channels and therefore "is not a future-proof method of transmission compared to the existing ones".

Ofcom has even envisioned a world without terrestrial broadcasting at all, though not before 2030.

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2013/01/21/rtl_dtt/

http://www.a516digital.com/2013/01/g...r-to-exit.html
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Old 21-01-2013, 23:18
jj20x
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Because of the regional nature of broadcasting in Germany, it could be difficult for them to secure enough clear frequencies for DTT services in their border regions. It would appear that RTL aren't willing to continue funding DTT carriage when there is no guarantee that the space will be there when 700 MHz band clearance arrives in Germany. It could also be taken as RTL pressing the German authorities to start planning for future services using DVB-T2, they will be continuing on DTT in Austria which is planning for DVB-T2 services. With only 5% of their viewers on DTT, it was probably not a difficult decision to cut costs and withdraw from DTT. RTL also seem to be moving into the realm of encrypted pay tv services, so that probably influenced the decision.

There isn't really a similar situation in the UK, the commercial broadcasters will continue to have space after the 700 Mhz band clearance has taken place, so it is unlikely that it will happen here. Also, we don't have broadcasters with only 5% of their audience on DTT.

As for a world without terrestrial broadcasting after 2030, time will tell, but faster broadband speeds over time will probably change the way television is delivered to the home.
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Old 21-01-2013, 23:34
Colin_London
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Let's get some things straight here - RTL just buy capacity on the German DTT network. Therefore the DTT platform will not be ending transmissions, just that RTL are ceasing to buy capacity on it and concentrating on Satellite & Cable. Also RTL want to concentrate on Pay TV, which is best suited to Cable & Satellite platforms.

Secondly, only 11.3% of German households use DTT at all, and only 9.3% on their main set: http://www.media-broadcast.com/en/te...rks/dvb-t.html. Naturally high spending consumers likely to want Pay TV will have satellite or cable.

Compare that to the 80% of British Households that use DTT, with 53% on their main set.

So before you get excited, there is a long way to go before DTT disappears in the UK. True, there is not much scope for expansion what with a potential loss to LTE 700 (although the current number of channels could possibly be maintained by switchover to DVB-T2 throughout) but most viewers seem happy with Freeview.

Satellite and Cable have always had much higher use in Germany and several other European countries. Terrestrial is more a 'platform of last resort'. Other countries like Canada have removed most terrestrial transmitters at DSO and only concentrated on main urban areas for DTT forcing people on to satellite.

There will be a world without DTT some day, but it'll also be a world without Satellite cause all TV will come over high speed internet via a fibre or via high speed wireless internet.
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Old 21-01-2013, 23:47
jj20x
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With so many channels having been available FTA on satellite in Germany for so long it's hardly surprising that DTT is far less popular there than it is here.
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Old 22-01-2013, 09:11
reslfj
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...Broadcasting on Germany's terrestrial platform apparently costs "many times" what satellite transmissions do,
....
... the company's statement, points out that terrestrial broadcasting hasn't enough space for HD channels and therefore "is not a future-proof method of transmission compared to the existing ones".
A German mux has a capacity of 13.27 Mbit/s while an UK DVB-T2 mux has a capacity of 40.1 Mbit/s

This alone reduces the cost of transmission a given bitrate in the UK to around 1/3 in the German cost (DVB-T2 cost the same or less to transmit).

Moving from the German MPEG-2 to MPEG-4 or even HEVC (first chip available in samples now) will make it possible to broadcast HD channels in about the same bitrate as SD channels.
Yes there is more capacity in cable or satellite, but with a modern DTT network - there is more than enough capacity for the HD channels needed ( ~ 30-50)

When RTL has less than 5% of viewers on DTT, where the UK has 50% or more on DTT and Germany uses 3 times more expensive DTT capacity - to save a few old TV sets and some indoor aerials, the cost per viewer (household) will be high.

But many uninformed e.g. in politics and the press, do not look behind the numbers and quote 'out of context' from the likes of RTL.
Some may even use such figures to lobby for more telco spectrum.

Lars
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Old 22-01-2013, 09:35
David (2)
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wonder if any other content providers will follow.

In a world of internet only tv, everyone is going to need to live in a zone covered either by 4G or ideally Fibre. I think the lack of such services in remote but *chocolate box" settings will lead to people moving into towns to get one or both of those services.
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Old 22-01-2013, 09:45
technologist
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The Germans wanted a very robust DTT transmission for it to compete /differentiate from (pay) Cable ( which a lot is still analogue)
and the FTA satellite services which came in when the country reunified.
hence ATT was not a predominant platform .....

there is more info in this thread http://forums.digitalspy.co.uk/showthread.php?t=1788109
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Old 22-01-2013, 19:13
a516
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It's interesting to note that there is a big difference between DTT take up where commercial channels are available and where they are not.

Where commercial channels are available up to 1/5 of the public have DTT as primary method of receiving TV in Germany. Where only PSB channels are available, take up has been low (think Freeview Lite, with just licence fee funded channels and no HD). This difference pulls the overall reach down to 12.5%.

Germany's DTT had at its peak access to FTA Eurosport, BBC World (Berlin), CNN (Cologne area) plus some of Germany's biggest PSB and commercial stations - up to 30 channels - Free. However DTT there does not have an EPG or any centralised co-ordination.

Over on digitalfernsehen.de there is the opinion that cost of broadcasting was not the real issue behind RTL's decision. (After all, it gained three extra channels on terrestrial, from just broadcasting RTL to getting a four channel multiplex), rather it is a political and strategic move. There are fears that Pro7Sat1 Group will follow suit in the future, although they have stated that no decision has been made at the moment.

As DTT is more viable with the commercial channels than without (as demonstrated by take up figures), there is a question about the future of PSB channels on the platform there. Legislative matters concerning the PSB channels means there is only funding for SD PSB channels until 2019, PSB ARD only wants to do HD in DVB-T2 if the commercial channels participate as well, according to information from German sites. Newspaper Die Welt also reported the withdrawal last week, and comments are full of "RTL won't be missed// TV of the lower class" type.

I would have thought a "digitenne*" style service with 2 DVB-T2 multiplexes to complement the FTA PSB services and a monthly charge of no more than 10 would perhaps be a possibility in Germany.

*the Dutch pay-DTT service See here. RTL channels are pay TV services in the Netherlands.

Here in the UK, the situation is different. The BBC has to provide all of its services terrestrially, the licence holders of the Channel 3 and 5 licences have to as well, plus Channel 4 is obligated to provide a service - albeit in SD. HD is a different matter, as demonstrated by Channel 5. Commercial spin-off channels launched by ITV, Channel 4 and 5 don't count either - so they can come and go off Freeview as they please.

As a final thought...
Who owned Channel 5 when it first turned down a slot on Freeview HD?
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Old 22-01-2013, 20:04
Nigel Goodwin
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Broadcasting on Germany's terrestrial platform apparently costs "many times" what satellite transmissions do
Exactly the same as here - terrestrial broadcasting is very expensive.
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Old 22-01-2013, 21:02
Tony Richards
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Exactly the same as here - terrestrial broadcasting is very expensive.
Absolutely DTT may be an old and over expensive thing of the past. Without it our Free Tv experience might well be much better.
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Old 22-01-2013, 21:18
1andrew1
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Absolutely DTT may be an old and over expensive thing of the past. Without it our Free Tv experience might well be much better.
Is the time that far off in Germany and the UK when DTT and DTH are replaced by cable and IPTV?
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Old 22-01-2013, 21:29
jj20x
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As a final thought...
Who owned Channel 5 when it first turned down a slot on Freeview HD?
I see where you are going with that but they also applied for slot in the first place.

It will be interesting to see what happens with ProSieben, possibly the removal of RTL will increase their reach on DTT, which may actually convince them to stay.

RTL in Europe appear to have been moving towards a pay-tv model for quite some time.
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Old 22-01-2013, 21:54
Everything Goes
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Exactly the same as here - terrestrial broadcasting is very expensive.
If I recall correctly Ofcom are considering charging DTT Spectrum Holders commercial rates for their holdings? So potentially it could be come even more expensive.
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Old 22-01-2013, 22:28
chrisy
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If I recall correctly Ofcom are considering charging DTT Spectrum Holders commercial rates for their holdings? So potentially it could be come even more expensive.
AIP. It's coming in next year I think, having been delayed significantly.
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Old 22-01-2013, 22:36
a516
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I see where you are going with that but they also applied for slot in the first place.

It will be interesting to see what happens with ProSieben, possibly the removal of RTL will increase their reach on DTT, which may actually convince them to stay.

RTL in Europe appear to have been moving towards a pay-tv model for quite some time.
They did, but then Sky came along. Within days of refusing the slot, the Sky deal was announced! Perhaps their experiences with launching C5HD and cost/benefit analysis of a FTA service launching an HD simulcast behind a paywall influenced further decisions on the matter.
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Old 22-01-2013, 23:35
jj20x
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If I recall correctly Ofcom are considering charging DTT Spectrum Holders commercial rates for their holdings? So potentially it could be come even more expensive.
Commercial rates? They are a Government agency given the task of managing the spectrum. There is nothing physically there for them to sell at commercial rates, it's just a form of taxation.
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Old 22-01-2013, 23:39
jj20x
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They did, but then Sky came along. Within days of refusing the slot, the Sky deal was announced! Perhaps their experiences with launching C5HD and cost/benefit analysis of a FTA service launching an HD simulcast behind a paywall influenced further decisions on the matter.
They probably didn't want to fund it as they were considering pulling out of the UK anyway. It gave them a short term cash flow boost prior to selling out to Northern & Shell.
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Old 02-02-2013, 10:44
douknowotimean?
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In a world of internet only tv, everyone is going to need to live in a zone covered either by 4G or ideally Fibre. I think the lack of such services in remote but *chocolate box" settings will lead to people moving into towns to get one or both of those services.
Even a decent 3G Signal can give you a good clear picture with no buffering issues. Managed to watch ITV News and Daybreak, using the TV Catch Up app, on my iPhone, with no problems, this week.

I think the day Apple releases it's iTV (or whatever it will be called in this country), will be the day the likes of Freeview or even Satellite will start to decline.

Before TV through the Internet becomes more common in the UK, people will need to be able to afford buy an iTV, Android's equivalent, etc. Also the Internet Provider's would have to offer unlimited data allowance plans, which some are doing at the moment.
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Old 02-02-2013, 13:16
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Even a decent 3G Signal can give you a good clear picture with no buffering issues. Managed to watch ITV News and Daybreak, using the TV Catch Up app, on my iPhone, with no problems, this week.

I think the day Apple releases it's iTV (or whatever it will be called in this country), will be the day the likes of Freeview or even Satellite will start to decline.

Before TV through the Internet becomes more common in the UK, people will need to be able to afford buy an iTV, Android's equivalent, etc. Also the Internet Provider's would have to offer unlimited data allowance plans, which some are doing at the moment.
Even if unlimited it still has to be paid for though, doesn't it, So it's hardly a replacement for a service which requires no additional payment for reception once the receiving equipment is in place.
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Old 02-02-2013, 16:01
mossy2103
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And if everyone piles into (or is forced into) unlimited services, my bet is that they would not remain unlimited for long Or would have to have a considerable price increase). They would be commercially unsustainable.
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Old 02-02-2013, 16:17
Rielly
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Is the time that far off in Germany and the UK when DTT and DTH are replaced by cable and IPTV?
Many, MANY moons away I would have thought!
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Old 03-02-2013, 10:02
janet owen
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RTL, does this mean Radio/Television/Luxemburg? shades of 208 are flowing.
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Old 03-02-2013, 10:31
Nigel Goodwin
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I think the day Apple releases it's iTV (or whatever it will be called in this country), will be the day the likes of Freeview or even Satellite will start to decline.
And how would replacing a cheap method (satellite) and an expensive method (DTT) with a MUCH more expensive (and much more limited) method possibly help?.
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Old 03-02-2013, 13:31
Sue_Aitch
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Many, MANY moons away I would have thought!
And indeed why would a United Kingdom Brodcasting landscape so hostile to DTT evolve, considering the success of DSO? Cable and fast broadband are not accessible everwhere.
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Old 03-02-2013, 14:33
ofdm
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In the UK terrestrial has a very strong position. In Germany the Internet discussion is heading towards complete switch off sooner or later. In the Netherlands KPN holds the key to the DTT future having broadcasting rights till januari 2017 while at the same time they paid A LOT for the 4G frequencies. KPN started DVB-T as a means of becoming a TV provider at a time they did not have other techniques. Currently KPN has reached 1 million IPTV viewers leaving 700.000 DTT viewers.

Today a news site has posted: http://www.nu.nl/internet/3096478/kp...itenshuis.html

This means that for all providers the focus is now on delivering TV on any mobile device thinkable. This will certainly not DVB-T or T2. My guess is that DVB-T will not survive upcoming IP solutions, LTE or WLAN coming from private homes that share a part of their connection.

At some time in the future the UHF in NL is free for TV-DX from countries that still transmit DTT.
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