Nearly 50 Countries Switch Off Analog TV

Mark RicherThe ATSC was pleased to be part of a special International Telecommunications Union (ITU) symposium last month in Geneva, Switzerland, celebrating the analog TV shutoff in Europe.

ATSC President Mark Richer was invited to look back at the U.S. transition to all-digital broadcasting and, more importantly, ahead to the ATSC 3.0 future. Some 48 countries have now switched to digital TV broadcasting.

“We congratulate our European colleagues on their accomplishments,” said Richer. “After decades of healthy competition between ATSC and DVB on the world stage, we’re happy to work more closely together these days. And we look forward to further collaboration in a number of areas like enhancements to RF performance and common interests in IP transport.

“If we didn’t have terrestrial broadcasting, we’d invent it – and we’d call it wireless!”
– ATSC President Mark Richer

While the U.S. completed its transition six years ago, several European countries had already switched off analog TV, including Luxembourg (2006), Andorra, Finland and Sweden (2007), Switzerland and Germany (2008), and Norway (January 2009).

Houlin Zhao, the ITU secretary-general, noted that June 17 was an “historic landmark in the transition” that digital television “has re-envisioned the way the world watches and interacts with TV and opened the way for new innovations and developments in the broadcast industry” like interactive TV and program guides, mobile TV and HD.


ITU 2015


Following a lively discussion, Richer had the last word on last panel: “If we didn’t have terrestrial broadcasting, we’d invent it – and we’d call it wireless!”

Also racking up some ATSC frequent flyer miles is TG3 Chairman Dr. Rich Chernock of Triveni Digital. He capably represented the ATSC at the DVB’s “Beyond the Transport Stream” workshop in Munich, Germany, where he explained the decision to embrace IP (Internet Protocol) transport for ATSC 3.0 and the benefits of marrying traditional broadcasting and the Internet.

Then, criss-crossing the globe, Chernock regaled audiences about ATSC 3.0’s progress, first at Broadcast Asia in Singapore and later at the IEEE Broadband Multimedia Systems and Broadcasting conference in Ghent, Belgium.