All eyes in the United States are on the Feb. 17 deadline (see here and here, for example), but there is plenty of digital TV transition activity occurring elsewhere.

The European Commission (EC), for instance, has set a target date of 2012 for what is commonly referred to as analog shut off (ASO), with Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Finland, Andorra, Sweden, and Switzerland having already completed the switchover.

In Belgium, the Flanders region switched off analog in November, while Wallonia appears to be following the later EC target date. Germany is aiming for completion by the end of 2008.

In France, Secretary of State for the Digital Economy Eric Besson published a roadmap in November, aiming for full ASO within 36 months. The United Kingdom is scheduled to meet EC deadline, although sooner would be better.

"London better get the switchover right, as its ASO is in the Olympic year," notes Broadband TV News Editorial Director and European Digital Analyst Julian Clover. (The 2012 Summer Olympic Games are slated for London.)

How is ASO impacting the cable industry? "Cablenets (in the Netherlands), in Belgium and in Germany are suffering from people switching to DTT (digital terrestrial television)," Clover says.

"What you get on DTT varies from country to country," he adds. "Some are mostly pay, others mostly free."

All in all, most other developed countries around the world have a DTV transition plan, even China, which is targeting 2015.

– Jonathan Tombes

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