European Union governments that have yet to name a date for the switchover from analog to digital broadcasting should aim for 2012, the EU's executive commission said May 24.


BRUSSELS (The Hollywood Reporter) -- European Union governments that have yet to name a date for the switchover from analog to digital broadcasting should aim for 2012, the EU's executive commission said May 24.

The commission said the switchover would free up spectrum capacity for other uses, such as new broadcasting and mobile telephone services.

"The sooner we complete switchover, the sooner our citizens and businesses will benefit," EU media and technology commissioner Viviane Reding said. "This will then give our citizens access to new services that combine mobile telephony and broadcasting, such as mobile 'datacasting' of videos, or multimedia content."

The commission said market demand for digital TV already is generating sales of 20 million digital TV receivers a year.

Most EU countries that have already decided a switchover date have chosen 2010, but Finland and Italy aim to make the switch in 2007, while Britain and Hungary have set a 2012 target. However, 13 governments have yet to announce a date: France, Luxembourg, the French-speaking part of Belgium (Wallonia), the Netherlands, Denmark, Portugal, the Czech Republic, Poland, Ireland, Cyprus, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.