Today at 9.45 AM the Swedish Secretary of Culture, Lena Adelsohn Liljeroth, switched off the last analog TV-transmitter in Sweden. During two years time and in five phases, Sweden has converted all it’s analog tv-transmitters to digital. A process that has been smoother than anyone anticipated in the beginning of the transition. Allthough consumers have been able to recieve digital-tv since 1999 in Sweden, many waited until the last hour to convert. However, it is a minority left who were still using analog only reception. The main part of Swedens consumers affected by the transition has allready made the transition. During the two years many more made the step to buy a converterbox than to wait and see until the very last minute.
The transition is overall a success, both for the Swedish government, the stakeholders and the consumers. TV viewers in Sweden has more than doubled the number of channels compared to analog broadcasts and the quality is superior. Even if many complain about the pricetag for a converter box, during the first phase of the transition, the prices has decined steadily during the remaining phases. Today it is possible to buy a converter box in Sweden for $80. And the market is fairy well developed with a great selection of different brands and capabilities and the price range varies.
So, today a fairly important piece of television history was written in a corner far up north of Scandinavia. And less than 500 days from now TV- viewers in the U.S has to be as ready as Swedes are today to be able to watch TV as usual, even if the TV-land is going through changes at the same time that are hard to imagine the outcome of. How TV as the main media will be transformed in a not too far away future. That is a major piece of history to be written – and we are a part of it, right now.
Anders Bjers, in Stockholm Sweden, for the moment.