Phase by phase the arrival of the new digital terrestrial Dvb T2 in 2023 is approaching and the new step concerns the farewell to the channels still broadcast in standard definition: but when will there be the definitive TV switch off? Which date to mark in red on the calendar? To clarify our ideas, let’s summarize the various stages, because this technological transition in Italy is taking place progressively.
Most of the tv channels are in HD from last year
So let’s take a step back. Things on the small screen began to change on 8 March 2022, when the vast majority of digital terrestrial TV channels were broadcast only in HD, i.e. in high definition thanks to MPEG-4 coding: this is a preventive step which paves the way for the definitive switch off, i.e. switching off the old signal in favor of the new Dvb T-2 standard, which uses MPEG-4 coding.
Only the main national channels such as those of Rai, Mediaset, La 7, as well as Tv8 and Nove, were temporarily broadcast in standard definition (MPEG-2), by selecting numbers from 500 to 509 on the remote control.
Refarming: the frequency change of channels (and retuning)
Subsequently, with a different calendar depending on the region, the reorganization of the TV frequencies took place (known in the jargon as refarming). In essence, the signals transmitted on the 700 Mhz band have been moved elsewhere to make room for the 5G of mobile phones. A process, which apart from the need to re-tune the television, did not cause great inconvenience to users and which ended last June, with different dates depending on the area of Italy. Please note that the automatic numbering has changed slightly and will also undergo changes with the transition to HD (in progress).
When the first “switch off”: what changes with HD for the new digital terrestrial
However, something has changed, for those who have a very old television or decoder, since the third phase of approaching the switch off TV for the new digital terrestrial was triggered: from 21 December 2022 the decommissioning of low definition channels began (for example those found from number 500 to 509 of the remote control) with the migration to HD (high definition). MPEG-2 coding, on which broadcasts were based until the beginning of last year, will in fact be abandoned altogether. It must be said that, contrary to what was initially announced, some channels are still offered in SD, due to technical problems that arose during the transition.
So those who have an old television that is not compatible with high definition channels, will be able to see an ever-decreasing number of broadcasts in SD (standard definition). In order not to remain completely in the dark, he will have to acquire a new decoder or a new TV. But be careful, this is not the definitive switch off towards the new digital terrestrial: users who have televisions compatible with HD, but not with Dvb T-2 (i.e. new generation digital TV), and who receive without problems already today all the channels will continue to be able to see the entire programming until the fateful date of the switch off. To be clear: a device can receive the HD signal, but not that of the new digital terrestrial (here we explain how to see if the TV is compatible with Dvb T2).
When will there be the definitive switch off for the new digital Dvb T2: 2023 calendar
The most important passage, the one that will concern the majority of Italian viewers, will in fact take place later. It must immediately be specified that the precise date for the definitive switch off to the new digital terrestrial Dvb T2 will only be known when there is the official communication of the 2023 calendar by the Ministry of Economic Development (now the Ministry of Business and Made in Italy) . In the latest announcement by the Mise, there is talk of a transition “starting from 1 January 2023”: a formula which suggests that the switch off, i.e. the switching off of the old digital terrestrial signal in favor of the new one, will not take place in a single given but with progressive stages such as success for the change of frequencies of the refarming.
To help those who don’t have devices that receive the new signal, two bonuses had been made available until last year, one for buying new decoders and the other for scrapping the TV. However, they have not been refinanced for 2023. Further information and updates can be found on the site prepared by the Mise nuovatvdigitale.mise.gov.it.