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PARIS – France said “au revoir” to its analog TV on Tuesday as the country made the official switch to fully digital broadcasting.
The analog to digital crossover began in 2005 and the process was officially completed once the Languedoc-Roussillon region went fully digital Monday night into Tuesday morning.
France currently boasts 19 free DTT channels and six more are expected to launch as of 2012. DTT currently covers 97.3 percent of the French population. The DTT channels have been giving terrestrial networks a run for their ad money with top ratings seeing advertisers move to invest in the successful medium.
According to public organization France Tele Numerique’s president Louis de Broissia, the move to digital wasn’t as expensive as planned. While initial estimates totaled €326 million ($435 million), the French government invested €100 million ($133.5 million) in the switch and its TV networks $66.7 million.
France Tele Numerique hopes that the next audiovisual step for the country will be connected TV and broadband by 2020.
Germany and Finland have already made the analog-digital shift, but France is still ahead of Italy, Spain and the U.K. that are still completing the full switch to the digital era.
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