Move puts conversion from analog to digital back on track

PRAGUE — TV Nova, the leading Czech terrestrial, withdrew its appeal over digital broadcast licenses Thursday, putting the country’s conversion from analog to digital back on track.

Nova, rival web Prima and other bizzers won a court ruling in October forcing the digital licensing tender to be reviewed after they were denied licenses, while six were granted to smaller stations and pubcaster Czech TV.

At the time, TV Nova owner, Central European Media Enterprises, called the broadcast council’s decisions neither fair nor independent. Nova has one digital license.

Now it’s time for fence mending, according to TV Nova director Petr Dvorak. “We want to so show that we’re very interested in this process,” he said. “We hope that the state and also the smaller broadcasters will make a conciliatory gesture.”

TV Nova’s current broadcast license is valid until 2017, and Prima’s until 2018, but the state will withdraw these licenses by 2010, as part of a plan for the Czech market to go digital.

The European Union is pushing for digital conversion before 2012.

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