DTTB was officially launched on 1 November 2002 and, by the end of 2008, all transmissions were completely digital, using the DVB-T standard. The business model is free-to-air broadcasting. The country’s channel planning is based on the framework of the national frequency rights resulting from the ITU-R Geneva Agreement 2006 (GE-06), using predominantly the service concept "portable outdoor" (RPC-2 according to the Geneva Plan plus one or several assignments per city for high-power transmitter). This service concept generally enables indoor reception in the German agglomerations, which makes up one half of the total area, where typically more than twenty digital programmes are available in standard definition (SD) quality. Outside of these agglomerations, DVB-T can either be received as "portable outdoor" or by using directive antennae. With respect to HDTV, first test transmissions have taken place. Trials are also carried out concerning the transmission of sound radio programmes within a DVB-T multiplex.
There are various types of receivers on the market, ranging from USB dongles for PC and laptops over small portable TV sets for handheld and in-car reception (screen size typically between 5 and 7 inch of diameter) to set-top boxes and stand-alone TV sets for stationary reception (typically with flat-screen displays). In May 2008, the first mobile phones with integrated DVB-T receivers appeared on the market. In addition, car navigation systems are nowadays equipped with DVB-T receivers.
The switch-off started in Berlin-Brandenburg in August 2003. Already by the end of 2003, some six million people were able to receive 26 digital channels in SD quality in the city of Berlin and the federal member state of Brandenburg. This was the first switch-off of terrestrial analogue television worldwide. This success can be ascribed in part to the Government, which decreed that the service was to be totally free of charge, and which provided, only in 2003, free decoders to the poorest households. Under no other circumstances, the purchase of DVB-T receivers was subsidised. By the end of 2007, more than 85% of the German population (68 million people) could already receive digital terrestrial television. More than nine million receivers had been sold by that data. The success of DVB-T in Germany was due to the fact that the reception of a multitude of German-speaking programmes was available to the general public free-of-charge. In 2008, DVB-T is used by 16,8% of the households in Berlin –Brandenburg.
In other metropolitan areas, DVB-T transmissions started in 2004. One key element of the German approach was the implementation of the digital broadcasting service region by region, initially after an announced transition period of as little as six months and later on without any simulcast period. By the end of 2008, the switch-over will definitely have been completed (two years earlier than originally planned).
By the end of 2008, some 15 million DVB-T receivers are expected to have been sold since the launch of the service. Nevertheless, for their primary TV service in the households (large flat screen in the living room) approximately 90% of the Germans still rely on cable TV or satellite distribution.
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It has to be acknowledged that analogue radio and television broadcasting are not very developed in certain African countries, for example the Republic of Guinea, where radio broadcasting was introduced only in 1952, and television in 1977.
Today, this network, operated by the Department of Posts and Telecommunications and digitized to the tune of 85%, does not carry television and radio signals owing to the advance of satellite broadcasting, which is favoured by the Government. However, we are convinced that the rapid development of radio and television broadcasting will of necessity involve digitization through liberalization of the audiovisual sphere.
In the Republic of Guinea, the tools and infrastructures conducive to the rapid opening up of digital radio and television broadcasting are to be found in different sectors, with much of the equipment (radio and television transmitters, studios) being administered by the Ministry of Information, while other equipment (shortwave and medium wave radio transmitters and terrestrial radio-relay transmission facilities) is administered by the Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications. The Government would be better advised, with support from the development partners, to group the various communication media under the same authority, pending the opening up of the audiovisual sphere.
Two alternatives may be envisaged for the migration from analogue broadcasting to DTT:
The second option would seem to be the most appropriate for developing countries. It involves using the existing analogue network with a certain amount of refitting and the construction of a number of sites. However, the paramount requirement for making the DTT network more operational is a redistribution (replanning) of the frequencies used, this being the task of the regional radiocommunication conference (RRC) over the coming months.
Furthermore, the fact that our States currently use the radio-relay network for their radio and television signals leads us to recommend, for those countries that share a common border, that they jointly replan their frequencies and select the same digital television system, namely DVBT, which is technically more adaptable than the ATSC(A) and ISDB-T(C) standards. The B(DVB-T) standard is less costly and more advantageous to developing countries during the transition period. This will allow for more fruitful regional consultation aimed at harmonizing the technical facilities to be used when introducing digital broadcasting equipment.