Digital Terrestrial Television (DTT) was launched in some parts of Norway in September 2007 and the whole country was covered in November 2008. Unlike US which killed the analogue switch in the whole country on June 12, Norway have taken an other approach. Norway have been devited in regions. Each region have had simulcast for 6 -12 months before the shutdown of the analogue signals which took place in the first part of Norway in March last year. On December 1st, 2009, there will be no more analogue signals.
In opposite to many other countries who started their DTT with MPEG-2, Norway chose MPEG-4 from the start, which is a much better compression technology. Norway, as rest of Europe, use the DVB-T standard. There are 25 TV channels available and 16 radio channels. Only the three TV channels from NRK (Norwegian Broadcasting Coopration) are free-to-air, unencrypted. The rest of the channels are available from the commercial pay-tv operator RikstTV.
It was said that because of the simulcast in the transition from analogue to digital, only three multiplexes would be available from the start, which wouldn’t give enough room for HD TV. In an ectually big surprise for me, TV2 (the biggest commersial broadcaster in Norway) announced that they will start to broadcast in HD from June 25, 2009 over the air. At first TV2 HD will only be available on digital terrestrial television. But other providers like Get, ViaSat and Canal Digital will probably get a deal to broadcast TV2 HD through cable and satellite TV later this year.
TVNorge HD was the first homegrown HD channel in Norway and launched in October 2008, and is only available from Canal Digital. TV2 HD will be the second homegrown HD channel. And NRK are planning to start HD transmition next year with the Vancouver Olympics. TV2 HD will broadcast in 1080i.
TV2 HD will start to broadcast some shows in HD, and then expand on that. The first show is Allsang på grensen (best described as a sing-a-long-show) then Tour de France. They will broadcast movies on Friday and Saturday in HD, main match in Norwegian Soccer on Sundays, TV shows like Greys Anatomy/ Cleaners/ Scrubs/ Brothers & Sisters/ Criminal Minds / Life on Mars/ X-list, Nordic TV shows, Varg Veum (Norwegian crime show), Jakten på kjærligheten (love show), Da damene dro (When the Ladies left) and Skal vi danse (Shall We Dance).
I’m very excited over this and think I will be watching a lot more TV, just beacuse it’s in HD.
UPDATE: The first HD show have been aired on TV2 HD, I watched in and have written about it in a new blogpost.