Digital Broadcasting

Digital Broadcasting

Policy and Practice in the Americas, Europe and Japan

Edited by Martin Cave and Kiyoshi Nakamura

Digital television is transforming both broadcasting and, as a result of convergence, the larger world of communications. The impending analogue switch-off will have a major impact on households all over the developed world. Digital Broadcasting considers the effects of digital television on the availability, price and nature of broadcast services in the Americas, Europe and Japan. It shows how this depends upon what platforms – cable, satellite, fixed or wireless broadband – countries have available for use and also upon government policies and regulatory interventions.

Chapter 1: Digital Television: An Introduction

Martin Cave and Kiyoshi Nakamura

Subjects: economics and finance, public sector economics, innovation and technology, technology and ict


Martin Cave and Kiyoshi Nakamura The purpose of this chapter is to set in context the contributions which follow describing the development of digital television in a range of American, Asian and European countries, and also discussing certain general issues in the development of broadcasting in the digital era, including the provision of spectrum, protection of property rights and containment of market power. The first section outlines the development of digital television broadcasting globally. The second section describes the value chain in digital broadcasting, identifies where market power might be exercised, and discusses possible remedies. The third section discusses some of the issues associated with providing spectrum for digital broadcasting, and the implications of digital switch-over. The final section provides a brief review of the chapters which follow. WHAT IS DIGITAL TELEVISION AND WHO GETS IT AND HOW? Hernan Galperin’s book on digital television in the UK and the USA eloquently explains in its first paragraph what digital television does: the transition from a world of spectrum scarcity, dumb terminals, and one-way services, to a world of on-demand programming, intelligent terminals, and abundant channels – namely, a transition from analogue to digital TV. Heralded as the most important innovation in the history of the industry, digital TV involves the reconfiguration of a sector that, beyond its economic significance, is central to the mechanisms of democratic politics and the evolution of popular culture. This is certainly not the first time that the television industry faces reorganization on a massive...