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January 12, 2006

Freeview faces new technology threat, report suggests

The looming transition in digital broadcasting encoding standards could result in a MPEG2 digital TV switch-off and an abandonment of current Freeview digital terrestrial TV receivers, according to a recent ElectronicsWeekly article.

By CBR Staff Writer

Suggesting that the switch from MPEG2 to MPEG4 would create problems for Freeview, the article quoted Roger Lynch, chairman of service provider Video Networks as saying, We are just at the cusp now of changing digital broadcasting encoding standards. The problem is that every single Freeview box out there in the field cannot do MPEG4.

Using half the bandwidth of MPEG2, MPEG4, the more advanced encoding technology, uses the spectrum more efficiently and is thus able to offer twice as many channels or offer high-definition (HD) broadcasting with considerably less bandwidth.

Agreeing that the switch-over was likely to require a second switch-off of TV signals, Mr Lynch expressed concern about Freeview’s status as the primary digital TV provider when it only boasts MPEG2 capacity.

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