French HD push may spur others in Europe toward HD

France has set a new benchmark for European digital TV policy, according to a recent report from Strategy Analytics.

The report, "Digital TV Transition: Europe Watches France's Mandates As Terrestrial HDTV Arrives," points out that a new French law has taken an important step toward HD television on the digital terrestrial television (DTT) platform by allocating capacity for HD channels and mandating HD tuners in HD-ready TV sets.

Other countries are watching France with interest, because these decisions will have ramifications for other European broadcasters. There will also be important lessons from the French approach to licensing HD channels that takes place during the next few months.

According to this report, the decisions made in France will put increased pressure on other European countries to accelerate their own policies toward HD on DTT platforms.

According to the report, France's plan to switch off analog TV broadcasts by Nov. 30, 2011, remains an ambitious goal. But the country's aggressive top-down approach to policy setting gives clarity to industry decision makers, which will allow technology vendors and service providers to plan with confidence.

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