Digital terrestrial: why Mediaset channels are now “provisional”

After the retuning of October 20, Mediaset's three main channels have become "provisional": here's what happened to Rete 4, Canale 5 and Italia 1 and what viewers should do

Five days have passed since the first real step towards the second generation digital terrestrial, DVB-T2, that is, since the change of encoding for the first 15 RAI and Mediaset channels, which took place as we now know on October 20. After some initial confusion and after a real rush to buy small DVB-T2 compatible TVs, which caused prices to soar, the situation has now stabilized.

One of the effects of the changes in recent days, however, was the umpteenth reorganization of national MUXes that required the umpteenth retuning of TV sets. At the end of the retuning process, all those who had an Mpeg-4 compatible TV returned to viewing the usual channels, at the usual LCN numbers of the remote control. There was, however, one difference with respect to before, and it concerned the Mediaset networks broadcast within the Mediaset 4 MUX: Rete 4, Canale 5 and Italia 1 (respectively at LCN 4, 5 and 6), became "Rete 4 (provisional)", "Canale 5 (provisional)" and "Italia 1 (provisional)". In addition, at number 20 of the remote control, came "20 Mediaset (provisional)". Many people are wondering why this wording has appeared and what it means for the viewing of the channels of the "biscione".

Digitale terrestre: cosa significa canale "provvisorio"

Provisional channels are not at all a novelty on digital terrestrial: they come and go for almost ten years. Mediaset itself, for example, in the now distant 2012 indicated for a few weeks its Rete 4, Canale 5 and Italia 1 channels as provisional at the end of the switch off from the old analogue TV to the first generation digital TV.

In that case the wording "provisional" indicated that those channels were the old analogue versions of the three Mediaset flagship networks, and that they would be switched off shortly.

The wording "provisional", in fact, generally indicates that a TV channel will soon undergo a change of some kind: frequency, coding or numbering on the remote control. The same denomination also indicates the channels that have been temporarily placed on an LCN number, and those that in the future will be eliminated or replaced.

Finally, it may happen that after a change of frequencies there is a numbering conflict between two channels and one of the two is therefore indicated as temporary, to distinguish it from the other.

Provisional Mediaset channels: what to do

In the specific case of the new temporary Mediaset channels, which appeared after the retuning of October 20, there is no need to worry: they will certainly not be switched off or moved. Nor, at the moment, has an imminent change of encoding to Mpeg-4 been announced: it is clear that there will be, but Mediaset has not yet made the date official.

If, after retuning, the user sees "Rete 4 (provisional)", "Canale 5 (provisional)" and "Italia 1 (provisional)" it is simply because there is a conflict of LCN, that is, two channels have the same number. To be precise, after retuning to positions 4, 5 and 6 there are also Rete 4 HD, Canale 5 HD and Italia 1 HD. In other words, in practice, it is possible to choose what to display when you press keys 4, 5 and 6 on the remote control: the low-resolution channel (with Mpeg-2 encoding, provisionally called) or the high-resolution channel (with Mpeg-4 encoding).

Those who have a high-resolution TV, therefore, would do well to directly choose the HD version of Rete 4, Canale 5 and Italia 1 so as to see this one (and not the low-resolution one) every time they press keys 4, 5 and 6 on the remote control. However, it is not compulsory: the same HD channels can also be found at positions 504, 505 and 506.

Finally, a curiosity: if you are wondering why, after the transition to Mpeg-4 of the 15 RAI and Mediaset channels, you continue to see them in low resolution, then we recommend you read this in-depth analysis: Digitale terrestre, perché i canali RAI e Mediaset non sono diventati HD?