Interest Grows in Terrestrial Digital TV
The TT news bureau reports that interest has increased among TV channels here to sign up for the terrestrial digital network. What apparently encouraged them to change their mind is the decision by the government that all analog transmitters will be turned off by 2008, and the switch-off of the first transmitters, on the island of Gotland, a couple of weeks ago.
TT says the 33 channels currently on offer want to extend their contracts, and another 34 channels want in. The only problem is that there is only space for half of them. The government is to decide in December which applications are approved.
Swedish terrestrial digital TV differs from Britain’s Freeview in that it isn’t free, or rather very little is free. Once you buy your digital box (Swedish public television wanted to encourage people to make the switch by giving away free boxes, but the government refused to fund the project) you only have access to a handful of free channels.
The current analog channels, SVT1 and SVT2 from public broadcaster Swedish Television and the commercial TV4 are included. Swedish Television offers another three digital channels, and there are a couple of local channels available in different parts of the country. You have to pay for the rest, around 20 dollars a month for the basic 17 channel package, with the other channels on an a la carte basis.
It hardly compares to cable or satellite.
TT says the government is trying to encourage more channels to switch to the free category by giving them priority in application approval. After all, most of these channels finance their activities with commercials. Why should they also expect subscription fees?