Italians to offer households subsidised DVB-T2 receivers

Italian authorities want to drive forward a switch to the next generation of terrestrial broadcasting by subsidising receivers.

Ahead of a planned switch to the newer DVB-T2/HEVC standards for digital terrestrial television in Italy, the Italian Government has earmarked €151 million to subsidise the purchase of DVB-T2/HEVC compatible equipment from 15th November onward.

According to a number of reports from Italy this month, only one device per household will be subsidised, with the maximum subsidy set at €50.

As in many other European countries, the conversion of former TV frequencies for use by 5G networks is the trigger for the change. Once a number of frequencies are no longer available, the only way the existing terrestrial TV service will fit on the remaining frequencies is by switching to newer, more bandwidth efficient DVB-T2 and HEVC standards.

The move will render most existing terrestrial TV receivers useless in Italy by mid-2022. More recent smart TVs do however already support DVB-T2 and HEVC due to its deployment in other European countries.

In the UK, frequencies are also being freed up for 5G services.  Adoption of DVB-T2 equipment is being market-driven, with the newer broadcast standard embedded in Freeview Play devices. But there still isn't a public roadmap to moving more of the service to the newer DVB-T2 standard. In the UK, MPEG4/AVC is used in conjunction with DVB-T2 instead of the more efficient HEVC standard. This is because the UK was one of the first countries to adopt DVB-T2, before HEVC was a thing...