From April 2016, French terrestrial TV will only be available in MPEG4 and HD.
Terrestrial TV is TV received via a TV aerial.
The changes from MPEG2 to MPEG4 aim to increase bandwidth, and offer more channels in HD.
France’s frequency authority ANFR (l’Agence nationale des fréquences) has started to inform viewers of the upcoming switch-off. On a special website, viewers can see if their receiver is compatible with the new DTT standard or not.
From April next year, the French digital terrestrial network will be available exclusively in HD with an offer of 29 channels. During the first quarter of 2016, 12 new HD channels will be available free-to-air (BFMTV, D17, D8, iTélé, Gulli, NRJ12, NT1, TMC, W9) as well as three premium (pay-TV) HD channels (Canal+ Cinéma, Canal+ Sport and Planète+).
Already available are TF1, France 2, Canal+, Arte and M6, who started broadcasting in HD in October 2008; and HD1, L’Équipe 21, 6Ter, Numéro 23, RMC Découverte and Chérie 25, that became available in December 2012.
The switch of broadcast DTT standard definition MPEG-2 to MPEG-4 Full-HD could affect a quarter of the older TV sets across France next year.
25 per cent of the current 40 million TV sets sold before 2008 will have to be changed before the switch in order to keep receiving a TV signal.
People living in areas not covered by the terrestrial transmitter network can receive the full bouquet of channels from two DTH platforms, TNTSat on Astra and Fransat on Eutelsat. The free-to-air channels are free-to-view on satellite requiring a subscription-free smart card.