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UK TV-Digital Switchover Date Demanded 2004-11-24

Posted by clype in Articles of Interest, Gizmo.
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At today’s [2004-11-24] Westminster eForum Keynote Seminar, Sony spoke for the manufacturers and retailers of digital TV sets when it demanded a firmer commitment from the government to the digital switchover, warning that the UK is in danger of losing out to other countries who have already named firm dates for the change.

Steve Dowdle, managing director of Sony UK , called for a speedy naming of a firm switchover date and the appointment of a truly independent chairman for public body SwitchCo next year.

‘Some countries such as Italy and Germany are well ahead of this country in their timetables. Italy has named a date and therefore enabled manufacturers to aim at that date’, said Dowdle.

‘As a result we are switching product engineering capacity to making products for Italy’.

Despite a barrage of questioning about when the UK will finally have a firm date for a switchover, Lord Mcintosh of Haringey, the “Minister for Media”, would only say that he ‘is working towards determining a date’ and that there would be no official confirmation of the dates to be named in the upcoming broadcasting licences from Ofcom.

The broadcasters also received flak from Sony and from retailer Dixons for educating customers to see digital TV products in terms of set top boxes rather than digital TV sets — an uneconomic proposition as far as Dixons is concerned. Dixons said that it took as much resource for a retailer to sell a customer a set top box for a twentieth of the return on a digital TV set.

Over 80 per cent of the company’s retail space is given to TV sets and this generates around 2_300_million_GBP/year in revenues, as opposed to 165_million_GBP/year from set top box sales.

The company said it needed a digital switchover date to help it sell televisions, which are already benefiting from new flat screen technologies.

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