Austria to complete transition to DVB-T2 by 2019 _21.12.2015

Austria wants to commence transition of the digital terrestrial transmission of the TV channels of public broadcaster ORF from DVB-T to successor standard DVB-T2 in autumn 2016 and complete the move in February 2019 at the latest, but current plans target a completion already in Q3 2017.

98% of the Austrian population will be covered by then. For all further national commercial channels on DTT the transition has to be completed by August 2019. These are the main conditions of a ruling by media authority KommAustria which has at the same time granted the permission for operation of multiplex platform A/B to ORF’s technical services subsidiary ORS. The licence covers the period between August 2, 2016 and August 2, 2026.

KommAustria also approved the encryption of the DVB-T2 channels. According to ORS, this measure is based on requirements faced by the broadcasters as many rights holders demand encryption for copyright protection reasons if transmissions take place in HD quality.

Reception will remain free of charge for viewers, but their reception devices will only be activated following registration.

“KommAustria will evaluate user acceptance of the encryption every two years and only permit its continuation if ORS can prove more than 150,000 registered users, showing that there is no decline compared with current terrestrial usage,” said Susanne Lackner, member of KommAustria.

An exception will be ORF 1 and ORF 2 which will continue to be available unencrypted in SD resolution for at least three more years.