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100,000 Swedish families ‘have to buy new TV’

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100,000 Swedish families ‘have to buy new TV’
Viewers might have to buy a new TV or a new TV box to watch pay channels. Photo: Ingvar Karmhed / SvD / SCANPIX
17:07 CET+01:00
This year around 100,000 Swedish households will have to buy new TV sets or boxes for terrestrial reception, due to the decision by the Swedish government to devote the 700MHz spectrum band to mobile phones and broadband internet services.

“Those affected will be households who subscribe to extra channels with the Boxer pay TV system,” Marcus Hartmann, head of communications at network operator Teracom, told Swedish Radio News, the Swedish public broadcasting radio network.

“Viewers will still be able to see free channels such as SVT, TV4 and TV6 but if you have an old TV which can’t receive the new transmissions you might have to buy a new TV or a new TV box to watch pay channels.”

The 700mhz band will be switched off for television broadcasting over the next 16 months, starting in Norrbotten in the north in April, and finishing one year later in Skåne. It is planned that the band will be devoted to mobile phones and broadband internet services.

When the terrestrial digital channels vacate the 700 MHz band and move to lower frequencies, they will have to share that space with the existing channels, using a system called T2. Most modern sets and Boxer boxes can receive T2, but older units cannot and will need to be replaced.

The old sets will still work for receiving free channels from SVT to TV4 but users may have to perform a new channel scan to find them after the switchover.

The European Broadcasting Union’s technology and innovation director, Simon Fell, criticised the Moderate Party-led coalition government of former prime minister, Fredrik Reinfeldt, when it announced its decision in 2014: “Digital terrestrial television can’t move out of the 700MHz in Sweden in the government’s proposed timeframe without substantial disruption to Swedish consumers. A smooth transition involves detailed planning and engagement with all sectors of the television industry.”

Broadcasters have also opposed the move, saying that it is poorly prepared. Per Björkman, head of distribution at public broadcaster SVT has warned, “in the worst case, we may need to set up new small transmitters in some areas, in order to compensate for the weaker signals, and it will take several months before they are installed.”

 

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