TVN, Polsat and Telewizja Puls The serious pursuit of delaying the change of the digital terrestrial television standard began after the head of the Office of Electronic Communications began a procedure that would allow Telewizja Polska to broadcast the main channels in the old DVB-T standard by the end of 2023. In connection with the war in Ukraine, this was requested by the Minister of Internal Affairs and Administration. Thus, MUX-3, where they broadcast, among others TVP1, TVP2, TVP Info and TVP Sport will also be available on old TVs and tuners. By the end of June, all commercial base station multiplexers (MUX-1, MUX-2 and MUX-4) will switch to DVB-T2/HEVC and will no longer be available for viewing on older devices.
Commercial broadcasters talk about inequality of treatment. They fear losing viewers and advertising revenue to TVP. The head of the media house of OMD, Jacob Berzinsky, in an interview with Wirtualnemedia.pl, estimated that losses could even reach hundreds of millions of zlotys. Previously, he was the president of TV Puls He announced that his station would demand compensation because the position of TVP was privileged. UKE explains that MUX-3 digital terrestrial television is linked to the Regional Warning System (RSO), so there is reason not to change the standard due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. According to data from the National Information Institute, 1.7 million households are not DVB-T2 / HEVC ready. It can reach 3-4 million potential viewers.
Commercial stations divided?
A week ago, a compromise between UKE and private broadcasters appeared to be approaching. Various variants were implicated. For example, broadcasting of commercial stations in DVB-T as part of MUX-4 digital terrestrial television, the Polsat of which the Mobilna TV package expires, or extending broadcasts in selected parts of the country in the old standard until the end of June this year.
– Works are in progress, no binding decisions have been made – Wirtualnemedia.pl informs Witold Tomaszewski, UKE Acting Spokesperson. The next meeting is scheduled for the end of the week. – Talks are underway and the next meeting is scheduled for next Friday – says Barbara Oklyska, project manager at the Polish Chamber of Commerce for Electronics and Communications. It is this organization that conducts the talks on behalf of the commercial stations. KIGEiT, which speaks to the UKE, includes not only TVN, Polsat and TV Puls, but also TVP which has a completely different website. In order to reach an agreement, all available channels must agree to the respective multiples, including TV Trwam and Antena HD, that are not participating in the conversations. MWE Group owner Michał Winnicki recently suggested switching to DVB-T2, but without the HEVC codec.
– Commercial stations divided. Each of them looks at this problem a little differently and suggests slightly different solutions. So far they have not placed any request and time is running out. A must have for the UKE to make reservation decisions, and Emitel needs it to prepare changes to the transmission network. The standard change cannot be delayed on Monday in northwestern Poland. The dispatchers themselves admit that a delay of a few weeks for only one stage is somewhat pointless, as a person who knows the conversations reveals. The representative of the trading stations has a different opinion. – Polsat, TVN and TV Puls have similar situations. We see no will for an agreement on the part of the UKE. It’s hard to say we’re close to a middle ground – Persuade.
Viewers without commercial stations quickly replace equipment
A postponement of about a month to DVB-T2 / HEVC in southern Poland that is at stake will only be a temporary solution to the problem. It can also add to confusion related to the modification to the standard. Her schedule was known for several months and was published in many social campaigns. Many Internet users also criticize the possible delay in the start of broadcasting channels, incl. TVN and Polsat in High Definition (HD). The DVB-T2 / HEVC standard will improve picture and sound quality and increase the number of available channels.
At the upcoming meeting, broadcasters and the UKE, among others, will be watching with the results of the Nielsen panel. As Wirtualnemedia.pl unofficially learned on April 19, just over 3 weeks of changing the standard in Lubuskie and Dolnośląskie counties, up to 85 percent. Terrestrial recipients had televisions or set-top boxes with DVB-T2/HEVC. Before the standard change, it was only 65 percent. The drop in viewership of commercial stations was only temporary. Channels from MUX-8 also acquired temporarily, which did not convert to DVB-T2 / HEVC (Nowa TV, Wp, Zoom TV, Metro, TVP Kultura HD, TVP Woman).
Thus, signal loss from commercial stations led to an increase of 20 percentage points in prefabricated homes for the new standard. We were recently informed that 68,000 applications have already been submitted. Funding requests for the purchase of a TV set or tuner within the framework of the government program. It is also worth noting that viewers from regions switching to DVB-T2 / HEVC with old TVs lose not only access to TVN and Polsat, but also TV Trwam. This may have a stimulating effect on some older DTT viewers.
Sales of televisions and receivers increased several times
Head of MediaMarkt confirms great interest in equipment that supports DVB-T2 / HEVC. – For many weeks, we have been observing a growing interest in digital televisions and receivers, which is undoubtedly related to the change in the digital terrestrial television standard. In the last two weeks of March, that is, before switching the signal to the new DVB-T2 standard in the Dolnośląskie and Lubuskie regions, their sales increased several times. Customers often bought set-top boxes, and when choosing a TV, receivers up to 43 inches were most popular. Starting in mid-April, we have also seen an increase in sales in regions entering the second phase of signal transformation – says Onur Doğay, General Manager Commercial Affairs, to Wirtualnemedia.pl MediaMarktSaturn Poland.
According to the manager, you do not have to spend huge sums to replace equipment. – The cheapest TV costs about 1,000 PLN, we will buy the cheapest receiver around PLN 100. In March (since the launch of the government subsidy program), more than 1,000 people who bought a digital set-top box or TV set used the TV+ coupon in our stores, says Dougai.
TVP Info is the leader in DVB-T in March
The new leader in viewership among viewers of digital terrestrial television in March of this year. In group 4+ there was TVP InfoAnd in the period from 16 to 49 years, Polsat was always in first place. TVP Dokument achieved the largest growth, and Zoom TV lost the largest number – according to a report by Wirtualnemedia.pl.
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