Finnish TV to go all-digital in just one year’s timeFinland will switch completely over to digital TV in exactly one year's time, on 31 August 2007.
The nation-wide change means that, if they have not already done so, television viewers need to acquire a set-top box, or else buy a television with a built-in digital receiver. In June this year, 50% of Finnish households already had a set-top box or an integrated digital TV.
Many households with TV aerials, people living in the countryside and families with small children are already watching digital broadcasts. Households with cable TV in the towns have been slower to prepare for the change.
The Ministry of Transport and Communications, the Finnish Communications Regulatory Authority and the television companies are backing the changeover with an information campaign, guidance and advice services, and other promotional activities.
Harri Pursiainen, Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Transport and Communications, says that the switchover to all-digital TV has been going ahead as planned. "However, there are still some special groups, and special issues, that need attention and appropriate action," he says. "These include coverage of areas where reception is poor, and safeguarding the functioning of equipment, for example through test systems. Advice services for older people are planned to start up at the beginning of next year".
Mr Pursiainen does not see any reason to delay the switchover. "It's very expensive to keep up two overlapping systems. No matter what the changeover date might be, there will always be some viewers who leave buying the new equipment right to the last possible moment."
Television networks have to be digitalised to gain the benefits of new technologies. The EU recommends all its member countries to change over by 2012 at the latest. Finland will be in the first group of countries to switch completely over to digital transmissions. TV programmes transmitted with the new digital technology can already be seen everywhere in Finland.
On 4 November 2004, the Finnish Government adopted a resolution that Finland would switch completely over to digital television broadcasting on 31.8.2007. The first digital TV transmissions started in Finland 27.8.2001.
Ms Liisa Ero, Director-General, Communications Department, tel. +358 9 160 28461
Mr Tauno Äijälä, Project Manager, TV 2007 Group, tel. +358 400 210 251
Ms Katariina Kivistö, Director of Press and Information, Digital TV Communication Group, tel. +358 400 502 128