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EU bows push for digital TV

Likanen sez platforms 'maximize choice for consumers'

BRUSSELS — The European Union unveiled a plan Wednesday that it hopes will help kickstart the growth of digital TV in Europe, which has been sluggish for several years.

The Brussels proposal focuses on how the 15-nation bloc can promote interoperable digital TV platforms — technology that will work with any reception system, not just those made by the U.K.’s BSkyB or France’s Canal Plus.

The EU’s tech supremo Erki Liikanen, who initiated the report, said open platforms are essential “to maximize choice for consumers and provide flexibility for the market.”

The report also urges European governments and TV companies to work harder on the switchover from analog to digital broadcasting, on the development of attractive interactive TV services and on the development of viable business models. “Digital satellite and cable television also need to maximize the range of services on offer,” the document says.

Only 25% of households in Europe will subscribe to digital pay TV services in Europe by 2006, according to recent figures from research firm Screen Digest.

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