Analog signal will be turned off by 2016
RIO DE JANEIRO — Brazil’s first free-to-air digital TV transmission will begin on Dec. 2 in Sao Paulo during a formal ceremony.A variation of Japan’s ISDB standard, digital will gradually be extended to the rest of Brazil by 2016 when the analog signal will be turned off. Despite the heavy investment, free-to-air broadcasters welcome the change to digital as an opportunity to maintain their dominance. They traditionally pocket about 60% of the total ad spend in Brazil. However, the high cost of equipment may hinder rapid take up. The prices of set-top boxes range from $270 to $600 while the price of ISDB-built-in TVs varies from $4,400 to $ 8,200. Government officials are considering lowering the taxes on digital equipment to stimulate the transition. Despite the cost, local manufactures expect to sell between 9.5 million to 17.7 million set-top boxes and digital TV sets from 2008-2010. Some 48 million households have analog TV sets, 92% of the country’s total households.