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France planning to switch off HD TV broadcasting starting in 2029

30 Oct 2023 | Rasmus Larsen |

France will next year host the Summer Olympics and broadcast in UHD on terrestrial TV. The plan is for UHD to continue, with the switch-off for the HD signal to start in 2029.

Most countries have yet to turn off the SD signal on their terrestrial network (DTT). France has already done that and has now also set a date for the switch-off of HD, according to Thierry Fautier, the former president of the Ultra HD Forum industry organization.

By turning off the HD TV signal, broadcasting capacity can be freed up for the same channel to be broadcast in better 4K Ultra HD (UHD) picture quality.

Planned for 2029

The 2024 Summer Olympics will take place in Paris next summer, with the event planned to be broadcast in UHD on the France 2 and France 3 channels. It is estimated that roughly 20 million French households will have a 4K TV by then, which corresponds to approximately 76% of all TVs households in the country. The key question here is the percentage of TV models with the right specifications, including proper HEVC decoding. The France 2 and France 3 channels will continue to broadcast major sports events and concerts in UHD after the Olympics. The long-term plan is for the France 2 channel to switch off the HD signal and broadcast exclusively in UHD by 2029, although some content will be upscaled. France anticipates that 95% of all households will have a 4K TV by that time. This will make France a pioneer in the transition from HD to UHD on the terrestrial network.


Many homes across Europe are still relying on terrestrial TV antennas and DVB-T2 tuners. Photo: High Contrast 2012, CC 3.0

UHD descriptor and Dolby AC-4

The results from France are likely to be closely examined by other European countries because France also intends to implement several new technological solutions from 2024 through 2029. The country plans to include a 'simulcast descriptor' in the TV signal to ensure an automatic switch from the HD to the UHD channel of France 2 if the TV supports UHD. Additionally, France is planning to test Dolby AC-4 audio and transmit in HDR10 - Source: Thierry Fautier via Ultra HD 4K news

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