The transition process from analogue to digital broadcasting in Greece is facing difficulties. The legal framework for the transition to digital terrestrial television was established in 2007 (article 14 of Law 3592/2007) in combination with the co-ministerial decision no 21161, published in August 2008 entitled “Formulation of the Frequency Chart for the Switchover to Digital Terrestrial Television”, which determines the transmission frequencies through which the existing television stations can digitally broadcast their analogue programme. The same decision defined the installation of 23 exclusive transmission broadcasting centres with the 1st of November 2008 as the definitive date for voluntary commencement of transmission of digital terrestrial television (DTT) by the existing analogue stations.

Although since 2006 the national Greek television provider (ERT) started digital pilot transmission sourcing content by broadcasting the existing four analogue and three newly introduced digital channels, Greece has officially entered the digital transition period on September 2009 when DIGEA, the digital provider of the seven private national broadcasters, has started its first transmission from Xulokastro in Korinth. Given the fact that Greece must complete the digital transition process by 2015, due to the country’s national commitment for implementing the decisions of GE 06 Plans (International Telecommunication Union’s frequency plans for digital terrestrial broadcasting), the government must act as soon as possible to introduce the appropriate legislative measures. Under this scenario, the Deputy Minister for Infrastructure Mr. Spyros Vougias established on January 2011 a working group on digital switchover, comprising of all stakeholders. Its purpose is to propose an appropriate institutional framework for the evaluation of the available digital broadcasting technologies and to recommend a consensus model for adoption by the broadcasting industry. Another issue that needs to be resolved is the coordination of all digital providers regarding the fixation of a precise timeframe and the decision on specific technical specifications for digital transmission (encoding parameters MPEG-2/MPEG 4, Standard/High Definition etc).

However, the success of this ambitious project depends especially on the result of negotiations between the national broadcaster ERT and the other private providers (DIGEA, DIGITAL UNION and others), as at the moment severe reactions were caused by the decision of the national broadcaster ERT to start digital broadcasting in high definition while the other private digital providers are bound due to the existing legislative framework to broadcast only in standard definition. Our experts are monitoring the situation and will comment on the developing events which are of high importance to all parties involved, including consumers.

Edited by Marina Markellou