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Finland’s set for a digital first

World brief

Finland will be the first country to migrate to digital TV when it switches off the analog signal in 2007, according to research by Informa Telecoms & Media.

The European Commission has set a 2010 switchover target, and several countries will meet or exceed that including Sweden, Norway and Italy, which will go digital in 2008. The U.S. and Denmark are expected to switch in 2009, followed by France, Germany, Belgium and Spain in 2010, Japan in 2011 and the U.K. in 2012 together with Australia and Austria.

However, Germany could bring forward its move to digital by the end of 2008.

Meanwhile, some 4.4 million households had digital TV in China in 2005, compared with 1.1 million in 2004.

However, once China breaks the 10 million mark, economies of scale will accelerate growth, according to Zeng Huiming, prexy of Radio and TV Information magazine published by the all-powerful State Administration of Radio, Film and TV.

Zeng said the increase was partly due to a process that moves all TV broadcasting in a city or a region from analog to digital in one jump. In the cities of Qingdao, Shenzhen, Suzhou and Foshan, local operators already provide digital broadcasting to all residents, he said.

Sarft vice-minister Zhang Haitao said the next stage would be to organize the move from analog to digital by province and powerful provinces like Guangdong, Shanxi and Hunan will start doing this.