A report released Thursday says Western European countries are expected to miss their deadlines for analog TV shutoff, a key component of the digital television transition, by as much as 15 years.
The report cited a slow rollout of digital television and resistance from consumers for the delay.
As in the U.S., governments hope the shut-off will spur consumer-electronics growth and the return of analog spectrum, which can then be sold for other technologies.
According to Informa Telecoms Media (ITM) projections cited by the Financial Times, Germany will complete its changeover, scheduled for 2010, in 2016. Italy will complete the switch in 2020, missing its announced 2006 deadline by nearly 15 years.
Said Simon Dyson, senior analyst for ITM’s TV International Database: "Even the UK, which has Europe's highest digital penetration rate, could have some problems with resistance from later adopters." The U.K. has targeted a 2012 conversion deadline; the report expects the British to finish up in 2016.