12.13.2006 12:00 AM
And so it Begins... Dutch Switch off Analog
The Netherlands ended all transmissions of terrestrial analog broadcasting on Dec. 11, becoming the first nation to officially switch completely to DTV. Yet, a small percentage of viewers rely on over-the-air television, since the majority of households are cable subscribers.

Less than 75,000 households still were relying "primarily" on terrestrial signals in the Netherlands, a country of 16 million, according to The Associated Press. About 220,000 people (not homes) reported having "occasional use" TV sets in a vacation house, camper or boat.

Royal KPN NV has licensed the analog bandwidth through 2017, and will use it to broadcast DTV. Under its government agreement, KPN bore the cost of building digital masts and must continue to air three state-supported channels and several regional public broadcasters for free. In return, it can use the rest of the bandwidth to charge around $18.50 a month for a package of other channels that is comparable to most cable services. All viewers were required to purchase a DTV tuner for about $70.

Dutch cable has faced minor (albeit growing) competition from satellite and more recently, IPTV.

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