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Finns turned off by switchover

Many homes still without digital decoders

STOCKHOLM — Up to 40,000 households in Finland could be staring at blank screens come September, when the country makes the switch to digital TV.

Speaking at a digital broadcasting event in Finland this week, Tauno Äijälä, head of the government’s TV 2007 org, warned that between 20,000 and 40,000 TV sets could be without a signal come Sept. 9th, when the analogue broadcast network is shut down.

There has been much speculation about how many Finns will be without decoders on D Day in recent months.

According to statistics published by Finnpanel, 73% of households had upgraded to digital television by the end of July. In homes watching TV via a terrestrial antenna, 85% had converted, while in cable TV households the figure fell to 61%. Only 2% claimed that they have no plans to get a decoder at all.

Of those who had yet to convert, the majority said they intended to purchase a decoder within the next few weeks.

In neighboring Sweden, 10% of all households waited until the very last minute to get a decoder when the country made the switch to digital in 2005. According to Finnpanel a similar trend is to be expected in Finland.

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