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Digital Terrestrial Television now in Italy

Digital Terrestrial Television : now in Italy

Digital Terrestrial Television (DTTV or DTT) is an implementation of digital technology to provide a greater number of channels (SDTV) and/or better quality of picture (EDTV, HDTV) and sound (AC3, Dolby Digital) through a conventional antenna (or aerial) instead of a satellite dish or cable connection. The technology used is ATSC in North America, ISDB-T in Japan, and DVB-T in Europe and Australia; the rest of the world remaining mostly undecided. ISDB-T is very similar to DVB-T and can share front-end receiver and demodulator components.

In Italy the DVB-T (Digital Terrestrial Television, known as Televisione Digitale Terrestre in Italian) is expanding rapidly. Almost every major network in Italy—including RAI, Mediaset, La7, MTV—started digital transmissions (continuing with analog television transmissions at the same time anyway until the transition is completed). Starting from January 2005 some networks (notably Mediaset and La7) started offering pay TV services through a prepaid smartcard (soccer games, usually three euros per game).

At the time of writing (May 2005) about 60% of the Italian territory is covered by digital television signal and the entire system is considered in an experimental phase until July 2005. By parliamentary law, Italy will definitely switch to digital television by December 31, 2006 with a 100% coverage of the national territory, although there is the possibility of a delay. The former Italian government (in charge until April 2006 and led by Berlusconi, the owner of Mediaset television network) started promoting the new standard by granting a financial contribution for the purchase of a digital television decoder.


The “Digital Terrestrial Television (DTT) has arrived” advertisement is a trick and it’s paid for with our money. It’s not true that it has arrived on earth, it’s always been there: below ground, it’s been born dead, or perhaps it’s never been born. DTT, (acronym curiously similar to that of DDT), was born after the Constitutional Court’s 2002 decree 466 which established that no-one could own more than two television channels. So that this decree could not be implemented, (Am I the only one who thinks this way?) the Government passed the Gasparri law “ad televisionem” (he doesn’t know!) To use DTT you need a decoder or set-top box and public money has been set aside to pay for this. DTT is being publicised with public money. Whose money? Ours! And who gets the money? Perhaps those who manufacture the set-top boxes and the owners of the television channels, who are buying football games, the only thing that DTT seems to be useful for. There’s talk of the “digital divide”, a term used by the mouthful at conferences, meaning that there is a gap between those who have access to information through the Internet and those who don’t. Instead of investing in a technologabortion, we should be investing in the Internet, in ADSL, and in Wifi. The Internet has millions of sites, is interactive and allows choice. You can do everything using the Internet. Are you telling me that DTT will be able to compete with the Internet? Oh yes! DTT will compete with the Internet in Italy; in fact it will beat it hands down. But only in Italy where we are already ahead on this road. In fact, according to the World Economic Forum, we are at position 44 in the world for the spread and use of the Internet and computers, the last among the industrialised countries.

About the Author:

Chris Kamen is a webmaster of an Italian Article Directory Site, Italian Web Directory and Alberghi in Italia informative site about travel resources in Italy.

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