Hungarians open way for digital TV

Kovacs to introduce legislation modifying Media Act

The Hungarian government is preparing to usher in a new era in digital TV broadcasting.

Information Technology Minister Kalman Kovacs intends to introduce legislation to modify the Media Act to include digital transmission. The government could issue tenders for 10 TV stations and two “Internet access frequencies” before the end of the year.

The government has pleged to invest HUF 1 billion ($5 million) to create a national digital infrastructure.

According to the Hungarian constitution, the Media Act needs two-thirds parliamentary approval for passage or amendments.

On Monday, Kovacs said Hungary’s ruling socialist-liberal coalition had the bipartisan support of the opposition Fidesz and Democratic Forum parties to create a statutory framework for digital TV in this territory of 10 million people and almost 4 million TV households.

Currently, Hungary’s terrestrial TV market consists of pubcaster MTV plus commercial networks RTL Klub, controlled by RTL Media, and SBS-controlled TV2.

Industryites expect digital TV to bring dramatic changes, even though 200,000 households in Hungary will not immediately be able to receive a digital signal.

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