In 2012, the major sport events (including Formula-1 Grand Prix, Football European Championship and Summer Olympic Games) broadcast on public service channels were available in HD-quality, without paying a subscription fee on MinDig TV. Antenna Hungária plans further network expansion, with special emphasis on improving reception in urban areas and extended coverage of Multiplex B, which broadcasts MinDig TV Extra Family package. (More about this - in Hungarian - here.)
By the end of 2011, further 20 digital sites (3 of them high-power backbone station) were launched. As a result of this network rollout, the number of DVB-T sites increased to 50, the population coverage of the public channels is already more than 98 percent, by this exceeding the present analogue m1 network’s coverage.
In March 2012, power increase took place at certain transmission stations. At Budapest Széchenyi-hegy: significant increase - from 50.1 kW to 100 kW – on Multiplex C (channel 62); in case of Karancs: smaller power increase on Multiplex A and B (38 and 55 channels) and further smaller power increases took place in Eger and Barcs for all three multiplexes.
In 2011 the digital terrestrial television platform showed the highest growth in Hungary. Number of households watching the free-to-air MinDig TV service reached 300,000. MinDig TV offers seven digital TV channels and four digital radio channels without a subscription fee, the signals can received via a rooftop or an indoor antenna. MinDig TV Extra, the pay-tv component offers, apart from the 7 free-to-air channels, 24 additional channels. Number of subscribers to MinDig TV Extra increased by 34,000 last year and is about to reach 60,000.
Another boost to the popularity of MinDig TV is that 96 per cent of new HD-ready or full-HD television sets (plasma, LCD, LED) now come with a DVB-T MPEG-4 tuner and thus no stand-alone decoder has to be purchased for watching free HD-quality television programs.
Important technical changes on the digital terrestrial television platform from the date of 1 October 2011
Based on the modification of the Authority Contract with National Media and Infocommunications Authority (NMHH), Antenna Hungária formed a public service multiplex on MUX A as of October 1. To realise this, several programs moved from Multiplex A to Multiplex C: TV2, RTL Klub, euronews, HírTV, ATV, SportKlub, Info Channel and NeoFM. Duna TV and Duna World HD programs moved from Multiplex C to Multiplex A.
At the same time, there was a swap of frequencies in MUX A & B in four regions: Budapest, Karancs-Salgótarján, Békéscsaba and Vasvár. In these areas the public channels are available from Channel 38 (610 MHz) as of October 1, the maximum power of MUX A increased to 100 kW (max. ERP) in the Budapest region. The Authority Contract modification enabled Antenna Hungária to use Multiplex B for DVB-T services instead of the DVB-H (mobile TV). Our company executed this change on September 30, 2011, the same day the DVB-H transmission ceased to exist and a new MinDig TV Extra family package is available on MUX B in the future.
Thanks to the MinDig TV service, the free-to-air digital television reception possibility was available for 95 per cent of the population at that time, which ratio continued to increase by the end of 2011, after putting the new digital sites into operation. Three new high-power sites started to operate in North-East of Hungary in the course of November 2011: Miskolc/Avas, Fehérgyarmat/Penyige and Aggtelek/Perkupa.
There was a change in October in the technical parameters of services offered on DVB-T platform, as well: the protective interval (GI) changed for 1/4.
Background information – already history…
Antenna Hungária was one of the first operators in Europe to start the first domestic experimental broadcast in the DVB-T MPEG-2 format from its Budapest site in July 1999. Since October 2001 the company had been continuously broadcasting the three public service channels (m1, m2 and Duna TV), along with 1 kW output signals for measurements. The first rural DVB-T site was put into service at Kabhegy in 2002, with a 2.5 kW output capacity, using the antenna broadcasting the analogue television programs, as well. On 12 October 2004, Antenna Hungária started its two free multiplexes on the 43 and 51 UHF channels in Budapest and on the No. 64 UHF channel at Kabhegy. The multiplexes broadcast programs of the four public service channels - m1, m2, Duna TV and Duna II Autonómia -, along with an electronic program guide (EPG) and a super-teletext service.
The National Communications Authority issued a tender call in the spring of 2008 for the operation of five terrestrial digital television networks and one terrestrial radio broadcasting network and Antenna Hungária won both orders for such services. On 5 September 2008, the Hungarian Communications Authority and Antenna Hungária signed the contracts concerning right to operate the digital terrestrial television and radio broadcasting networks. Antenna Hungária won the right to operate 5 television and 1 radio multiplexes for a period of 12 years, from among which the company started the broadcasting in December 2008 on the television multiplexes ‘A’ and ‘C’ and on ‘B’ for mobile television broadcasting (since 30 September 2011, this ‘B’ multiplex is also used for the DVB-T transmission). On multiplexes ‘D’ and ‘E’ the company can start service provision after the termination of the existing analogue terrestrial broadcasting service. On the radio multiplex, it started DAB+ broadcasting in January 2009.
The DVB-T television multiplexes will reach 98 per cent, the radio network will reach 94 per cent of the population when completed.
As a consequence of the launching in December 2008 of the new MinDig TV service, the experimental system broadcast with the aid of the MPEG-2 compacting technique having been in operation from 1999 and containing each of the four public service channels was stopped on 13 October 2008 at Kabhegy and on 31 October 2008 in Budapest. Accordingly, this format of broadcasting was brought to an end, so the MPEG-2 devices cannot receive the MinDig TV service any more.
As far as the channels available through the new MinDigTV service are concerned, at the time of its launch, the HD format program of Duna TV and the SD format of Duna II Autonómia were broadcast. Since 2009, the program of RTL Klub (from 8 May) and TV2 (from 1 June) in SD format, the HD format program of m1 and m2 (from July 1) and the SD format program of euronews in English, German and French (from 28 August) have also been available on the multiplexes ‘A’ and ‘C’ of the digital terrestrial television service.
In December 2008, at its launch, DVB-T provided a nearly 60 per cent coverage of the population, from three sites (Budapest, Szentes, Kabhegy). The network was expanded in December 2009 by opening ten more sites, bringing coverage to 88 per cent, whereby the digital network exceeds the 86 per cent coverage of the existing nationwide commercial analogue channels. By end 2010, the coverage rate of the network exceeded 95 per cent, and it is supposed to be available for a 97 per cent of the population by the end of 2011.
In February 2010, Antenna Hungária Group received the necessary radio licences for two of its transmission sites to increase the maximum Effective Radiated Power (ERP) of Multiplex A and C. At Széchenyi-hegy transmission site Antenna Hungária increased the maximum ERP from 6.3 and 10 kW to 40 kW (on 5 Feb), and at the transmission site located in the 10th district (Száva utca) it grew from 0.6 kW to 2.4 kW (on 10 Feb). These steps will enable much better reception conditions of the subscription-free MinDig TV digital terrestrial television service for the citizens living in the Budapest area.