Digital television in Portugal

Digital television in Portugal


Currently, Portugal is one of the few countries in Europe that has not yet launched terrestrial digital television. This service is planned to start in 2009 with 6 free access channels, including a High-Definition test channel, and 40 pay channels. It is expected that all the present analog channels will broadcast in HD as frequencies become free after the analog switch-off.

There will be two auctions: one for the management of the FTA frequencies, and one for the management and distribution of the pay channels. The Government wants 6 FTA channels (including the analogue channels already broadcasting) and 40 pay channels. This means there will be a pay-TV offer over DTT, even after the failure of the Spanish and British offers.

Meanwhile, PT has been announced as the possible winner of both the auctions. PT acquired the transmitter network of Televisão Independente, thus becoming the sole provider of analogue television signals. The creation of a "fifth channel" has also been criticized by the main private broadcasters, TVI and SIC. Both of them argue that the television advertising market is already full and a new broadcaster would be prejudicial for the existing channels. It is worth mentioning that during the fiscal year of 2007, SIC and TVI had 185,2 and 222,4 million euros of advertising revenues, respectively.


All cable providers in Portugal are slowly introducing digital television. TV Cabo has already started one since 2003, but it is quite poor in amount of channels and image quality, which is very compressed even in premium channels.


Digital satellite services have existed since 1998. Currently, the providers are TV Cabo and Meo operating in Hispasat and TVTEL operating in Eurobird 9.


Clix has launched this service under the name of SmarTV, provided in Amino and Motorola STBs. PT Comunicações (Portugal Telecom) has also launched one called Meo, providing that the spin-off of subsidiary TV Cabo (PT Multimédia) is concluded.

As of worldwide sport events, the common broadcasters usually start a temporary HD channel for IPTV users. For the Euro 2008 TVI launched TVI HD for watching the events (although you could also see the channel 24 hours) and now, for the Beijing Olympics 2008, RTP has launched RTP HD, but this one has non-continuous programming, broadcasting only the Olympics (which come to air very late night) and some RTP2 sports during the day, stopping in the morning to around 15 (3 p.m) for Sports 2 and then stopping again until 21 (9 p.m) to show primetime during the week and movies during weekend. Night is filled with the Olympics from 0 to 2 (12 am to 2 am) with reruns and 2 to 7 am with live events.


All operators have mobile TV under UMTS platforms.

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