Four years of fun and games with the Digital TV Switchover is coming to an end at last… we don’t want to worry you… but there might be another one on the way…
Digital Switchover Mk II
OK – Nothing to worry about just yet, but according to a report in the Guardian, the House of Lords has been discussing moving TV from being broadcast over-the-air, to being broadcast over the Internet.
Of course, a switchover to Internet TV for every home in the UK is major upheaval, and it’s likely to be some way off, but it does make sense. With over 11 million homes now getting a decent fibre Internet connection, and more and more of us watching our TV and movies online, int twenty years time, we’ll all be laughing looking back at the days when we struggled to get a clear picture from the airwaves with a bit of metal on the roof.
The Lords committee has recommended that the UK Government, media regulators and the TV industry start planning now for a potential switchover to Internet TV at some point in the future.
For the idea of a switch to Internet TV to be viable, the UK broadband network will need to complete the overhaul, and it’s likely that every home not using a satellite TV service would need at least 2 to 3 MBp/s of broadband speed – more if two people want to watch different channels at the same time.
A switch to Internet TV would be a potential revenue-earner though… with TV off-the-air, that very valuable part of the radio spectrum could be hived off to the mobile phone networks, allowing new entrants into the market to offer more mobile services for us. Additionally, there’d be no need to maintain the expensive network of TV transmitters and fill-in relay sites needed to get TV signals to remote parts of the country.
There’s no doubt that they way we watch TV has changed significantly in the last 10 years – Catch-Up TV, the numerous on-demand services, +1 channels and timeshifting. Perhaps a shift to an Internet-based service is the next logical step, and provided it’ll be possible to get granny a decent broadband connection and a simple-to-use Internet TV monitor, it’s likely that Digital Switchover v2.0 may not be that far away after all…
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