ITU symposium to mark switchover from analogue to digital TV

Monday, June 1st, 2015 
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GENEVA — The deadline for the transition from analogue to digital broadcasting, set for 17 June 2015, is applicable for all countries belonging to ITU Region-1 (Europe, Africa, the Middle East and Central Asia) and the Islamic Republic of Iran. The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) will mark this key milestone with a thought-provoking symposium at its headquarters in Geneva to highlight the inherent advantages offered by digital terrestrial broadcasting today and in the future.

The above deadline for switching off analogue television broadcasting in the UHF band was set by ITU Member States at the Regional Radiocommunication Conference in 2006, known as the GE06 Regional Agreement.

The symposium will bring experts from around the world to examine the objectives of the transition from analogue to digital broadcasting and take a look at advances in television, such as ultra-high-definition TV (UHDTV), Integrated broadcast-broadband (IBB) systems, and smart TV platforms as well as building a sustainable ecosystem for digital TV in the future and its spectrum requirements. New technologies related to digital broadcasting, including UHDTV, hybrid HbbTV, extended image dynamic range, higher frame rates, and immersive audio, will be demonstrated by leading developers and experts from the BBC, EBU, Dolby, Fraunhofer and others.

Digital TV broadcasting offers many advantages over analogue systems for end-users, operators and regulators. Apart from increasing the number of channels, digital systems can provide new innovative services, such as interactive TV, electronic programme guides and mobile TV as well as transmit image and sound in high-definition (HDTV) and ultra-high definition (UHDTV). Digital TV requires less energy to ensure the same coverage as for analogue while decreasing overall costs of transmission. The more efficient use of radio spectrum brought on by digital TV also allows for the so-called digital dividend resulting from the freeing up of spectrum for use by other services, such as mobile broadband.

Countries around the world are actively working towards the switchover to digital television. Several countries that are parties to the GE06 Agreement, as well as many who are not, have already made the transition; others are in the process of doing so.

“As the specialized agency of the United Nations dealing with information and communication technologies, including spectrum and satellite orbit issues, ITU will keep supporting the development of new technologies,” said ITU Secretary-General Houlin Zhao. “I congratulate administrations around the world which have successively switched to digital television broadcasting and I also wish all success to those still in the process of doing so.”

The symposium will be webcast.