French nets pledge digital switch support

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PARIS -- France's main TV networks -- TF1, M6, Arte, Canal Plus and public TV group France Televisions -- have pledged their collective support for a rapid implementation of the government's "TV of the future."

"The extension of DTT coverage in addition to the launch of HD and mobile TV are a national priority today," the groups said in a joint statement released Wednesday.

The networks stated their agreement with broadcast regulator the CSA's recently published plan to facilitate the gradual move from analog to digital, emphasizing the urgency of effecting the changes by 2009 in order to ensure the completion of the process by November 2011 as planned.

The networks highlighted their opinion that "it would be dangerous to wait" until the CSA has decided which networks will be selected for the country's new DTT platform before starting the process of the "extinction" of analog TV.

The CSA's plan calls for a complete extermination of analog TV in two, yet-to-be-determined regions in the country followed by a region-by-region removal of analog broadcast, with 10 regions to be analog-free by 2010 and the entire country by Nov. 30, 2011.
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