DIGITAL TERRESTRIAL TELEVISION (DTT) TO LAUNCH IN BULGARIA
Author: Mariyan Tomov
A basic assumption
According to the revised Media Law which has been passed by the Bulgarian Parliament, DTT will launch in Bulgaria in 2009, with three multiplexes broadcasting 12 channels, and the total six multiplexes broadcasting 24 channels before 2012 year.
The new law confirms 2012 as the analogue switch off deadline for public channels. Before analogue switch-off there will be six multiplexes, broadcasting 24 public channels and separately regional channels (unknown how much at this moment).
The digital transition process in Bulgaria will take two steps. First, in 2009 -2010 three multiplexes will launch providing free DTT service; the other three multiplexes will launch afterwards and before 2012 (providing free DTT too).
The first multiplex will broadcast National channels: two which already broadcast (Bulgarian National Television (BNT and BNT 2) and two more which Bulgarian broadcaster will create for that purpose.
On the second multiplex there will be commercial channels with coverage at this moment over 50 % of the population, (according to the Media Law), including bTV, TV2, and TV Nova, as well as one channel chosen by the Council for Electronic Media (CEM) which response at this conditions.
The third multiplex will also broadcast four channels which will be selected by the operator of the multiplex, although CEM will define the genre of each of them – sport, advertising, culture. Obligatory – two of the channels of each multiplex will be Bulgarian.
First six (6) multiplexes, 24 channels at all, will cover the whole Bulgarian population before 2012. Except these 24 National channels, another regional digital channels will be created too.
Very important is that there will be simulcast period. Simulcast is „simultaneous broadcast„, and refers to programs or events broadcast across more than one medium, or more than one service on the same medium, at the same time. For example, BTV will simulcast on analogue platform and on digital at the same time. The deadline, according to our Media low for analogue broadcasting is one year, to the end of 2010 year.
The compression format to be applied in Bulgaria is still undefined.
Set up Boxes prices start from €35 to €100. Set up box or a digital television adapter, (DTA) is a device that receives, by means of an antenna, a digital television (DTV) transmission, and converts that signal into an analog television signal that can be received and displayed on an analog television.
From 24th February, when Media law is in force, the Council for Electronic Media has started licensing the channels to be broadcast on DTT. The tender for the licence for the operator of the three multiplexes will be announced soon. The winner of the tender will build the DTT infrastructure with the permission of ORS, which recently bought the Bulgarian transmission network from Bulgarian Communications Company.
The Bulgarian Parliament is preparing particular law, devoted to DDT. It is expected to be prepared in June 2009. In future, after 2012 – more multiplexes will be created, but at this moment still haven’t a clear plan to do this.
There are fewer and fewer countries in CEE which hasn’t yet announced any plans regarding DTT roll-out. Bulgaria joins Poland, Latvia and Slovakia, which also plan to start DTT broadcast in 2009, following other CEE countries which have already launch DTT: Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Lithuania and Slovenia.