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August 10 , 2008

The Digital Dividend of Terrestrial Broadcasting


The “digital revolution” of the last two decades has pervaded innumerable aspects of our daily lives and changed our planet irreversibly. The shift from analog to digital broadcasting has facilitated a seemingly infinite variety of new applications—audience interactivity being but one example. The greater efficiency and compression of digital media have endowed broadcasters with a “digital dividend” of spare transmission capacity over and above the requirements of terrestrial broadcasting. The question is, who will use it, and how? Comparing the European experience with that of broadcasters elsewhere in the world, the author sketches the current status of international frequency management, quantifies the value of the “dividend” itself, analyzes the details of the analog-to-digital switchovers already completed, and posits what the future holds for the sector. As we grapple with new devices, inconceivable a mere generation ago, that allow us to access digital media instantly, anywhere and at any time of day, this book is a potent reminder that what we have witnessed so far may be just the first wavering steps along a road whose destination we can only guess at.

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