The average price of DTT set-top-boxes in Portugal continues to fall. In the third quarter of 2011, the average price was reported at 37 euros, 18% less than in the previous quarter. In September, the average price was 34 euros, 24.4% less than in June, when the average price was reported at 45 euros.
In September, 62.1% of DTT set-top-boxes sold in Portugal were priced under 30 euros and 32.7% had prices between 30 and 50 euros.
On an accumulated basis, during the third quarter, sales of DTT set-top-boxes in Portugal under 30 euros made up 48.8% of all equipment sold during the quarter, showing that consumers are opting for cheaper devices to make the transition to DTT.
Sales of set-top-boxes are growing at a strong rate. Between July and September, sales increased almost 29% but, in absolute terms, sales remain far below the level that will be required if migration is to be completed smoothly.
The analogue television signal in Portugal will be switched off nationwide in three phases in early 2012: on 12 January in coastal areas, on 22 March in the Azores and Madeira, and on 26 April in the rest of the country.
DTT coverage already extends to the entire Portuguese population and so it is important that people start preparing for transition today and avoid last-minute pressure as the switch-off date approaches with the risk that those who have not made preparations in good time might be left temporarily without television. Indeed if everyone waits until the last minute, it is likely that that the lowest priced equipment will be sold out or out-of-stock.
In areas where coverage is provided by satellite, it is also important that people begin preparing for digital television, since, as the only provider of DTH kits, PTC may be unable to cope with demand if it receives the majority of requests in the last few days before the switch-off.
A subsidy is available for the purchase of set-top-boxes to receive digital television, whether by terrestrial means or by satellite, totalling 50% of the price up to a maximum of 22 euros. Subsidies are available to beneficiaries of Rendimento Social de Inserção (state income support), pensioners with a monthly income not exceeding 500 euros and people with a level of disability equal to or greater than 60%.
The switch-off of the analogue television signal in Portugal will begin in six weeks, starting with coastal areas, on the islands on 22 March, and in the rest of the country on 26 April.