Digital Terrestrial: 100 days to go but the change is already happening today

Local TV stations continue to move from one MUX to another to comply with the regulations, while a new doubled TV Bonus could arrive for users.

Exactly 100 days to September 1, an important date for Italian TV viewers because it marks the beginning of the transition from the current first generation Digital Terrestrial Television to the new DVB-T2. From September, in fact, the first technical step will be taken: all broadcasters will have to transmit exclusively with MPEG-4 coding (today many TVs use the old MPEG-2).

The new compression codec will allow to transmit the same amount of channels in half the radio space, "saving" a lot of frequencies that will be reallocated by the State for other purposes, such as the new 5G telephone network. For several months now, as Italian broadcasters have been adapting to the regulations and switching to MPEG-4, there have been several shifts of channels within individual MUXes, or from one MUX to another. There have also been total shutdowns of entire MUXes (so-called "scrapping"). There have also been changes on several regional MUXs in recent days. Here is how the channels have changed and how to prepare for September 1, 2021.

Digital Terrestrial: which channels have changed

From north to south, there are mainly three Italian regions where local broadcasters have moved: Lombardy, Emilia Romagna and Calabria.

In Lombardy the three duplicate channels of La Grande Italia, which occupied LCN 197, 254 and 858, have been eliminated from MUX Rete 55, but the broadcaster remains visible from MUX Retecapri (always with LCN 254).

In Emilia Romagna, TeleRomagna (LCN 74), DITV 8LCN 90) and DITV 92 (LCN 92) have arrived in the Telereggio MUX, but TRC BO (which used to broadcast on LCN 15) has disappeared.

In Calabria, within the Video Calabria MUX, the local TV TeleJonio has arrived, with LCN 73.

Digital Terrestrial: what happens from September

As of September 1, those who do not have a TV capable of decoding channels transmitted with MPEG-4 codec will end up not seeing anything anymore. This is only the first technical step, but not the only one that Italian DVB users will have to face. Subsequently, starting from June 21st 2022, there will be a further change and all broadcasters will have to start transmitting using the new DVB-T2 standard with HEVC (H.265) coding.

This means that in Italy there is currently a number of TV sets, very difficult to calculate precisely, that are not compatible with the new standards. Usually these are old TVs bought before 2017 and still used in secondary rooms of the house, such as the kitchen or the children's room.

For all those who are in this condition the choice will unfortunately be limited to only three options: either buy a new TV to replace the old one (here are some interesting models), or buy an additional decoder to connect to the device no longer compatible (here are some interesting models), or give up the TV in that room altogether.

Unfortunately there is the government Bonus TV, a non-refundable contribution up to 50 euros that "is not enough but helps" to pay back part of the expense. At the moment it is limited to families with ISEE up to 20 thousand euros, but an update of the bonus is currently being discussed to bring it to 100 euros for everyone, but only in exchange for an old TV to be scrapped.

At this time, therefore, the wisest advice is to wait a few weeks to see if the new Bonus TV will arrive or if the current one will remain. In the meantime, however, we encourage you to read this guide on how to choose a TV that is 100% compatible with the new standards and technologies that will become the norm starting in September.