Italy hits 5 million digital TV mark


ROME -- Italy has reached the 5 million digital television milestone less than three years after the first such device was sold here, with prognostications indicating that the quick growth will continue for several more years.

According to statistics released Wednesday by the Ministry of Communications, the 5 millionth digital decoder was sold last week -- surpassing predictions that that mark would be hit by the end of the year.

The ministry also updated its predictions, indicating that about 21 million devices will be sold by 2012.

The Italian government has been pushing the move to digital technologies, requiring that state broadcaster RAI and Silvio Berlusconi's Mediaset each switch one network to digital frequencies by 2009. Other national networks will make the switch by 2012.