Clarification on Digital Terrestrial Television

By determination of ANACOM of 20 October 2008, the allocation was made of a right to use frequencies for the digital terrestrial television broadcasting service, corresponding to coverage on a national basis, for the transmission of free unrestricted television programme services.

As such, a process is begun in Portugal of transition from traditional analogue TV to digital transmissions, whereby ANACOM considers that it is important, without prejudice to any further information which may be disclosed opportunely at a later date, to issue the following clarification:

Reception of Digital Terrestrial Television

The future transmissions of Digital Terrestrial Television (DTT) in Portugal will be based on DVB-T technology and MPEG-4/H.264 video compression.

In this context, it should be confirmed whether, for the reception of DTT transmissions, the technical specifications of the equipment used respects, at a minimum, two conditions:

  1. Compatibility with the DVB-T standard;
  2. MPEG-4/H.264 video decoding.

Where these conditions are not met, users may proceed as follows:

  • If the user wants to keep their current television, an external device should be acquired, usually a set-top-box, to be installed between the aerial socket and the television, satisfying the two conditions above;
  • If the user prefers to purchase a new television and not install the external device described above, an integrated digital television should be acquired which already has DVB-T reception and MPEG-4/H.264 video decoding capacity.

Users should also check with the retailer that the devices to be purchased with a view to DTT reception in Portugal (set-top-box or integrated digital television, or other device, such as PC adapter) meet the two conditions given above.

Attention should be called to the fact that much of the equipment presently available in Portugal, indicated as being DVB-T compatible (especially integrated digital televisions), only provide MPEG-2 video decoding. Such equipment, on its own, is not capable of DTT reception in Portugal, and an external device will still be required - either a set-top-box with the features already described or another type of solution which meets the same conditions.

Reception of high definition television (HDTV)

In addition to the requirements mentioned above, users who also want to access television programme services in high definition, the provision of which is expected as part of the unrestricted DTT service, should take account of the following:

  • The television used must have, at the very least, a vertical resolution of 720 lines (720p), available with equipment marked as HD Ready, and, as an integrated digital television, should provide capability for video decoding for high definition content; the designation Full HD is used to refer to televisions with greater vertical resolution, 1080 lines (1080p);
  • The set-top-box needs to have an HDMI interface (preferably version 1.3 or later) and video decoding for high definition content. Such equipment is usually marked with an HD TV logo.