French media regulator the CSA has outlined plans to develop a new digital-terrestrial multiplex that will facilitate the launch of 4K UHD TV channels and other new services.
The new multiplex will serve as an experimental platform for DTT broadcasters and will serve as a showcase for UHD TV services, according to the CSA. The regulator envisages a launch by 2024 at the latest with coverage of at least 60% of the population of metropolitan France.
The watchdog said that it would work in partnership with operators and spectrum body the Agence Nationale des Fréquences to identify the spectrum resources necessary for the multiplex, while ensuring it would have no impact on the coverage of the country’s existing six national DTT multiplexes.
The CSA said it would collaborate with broadcasters over the course of this year to identify the ideal coverage area, the launch date and the content line-up for the platform.
The regulator also plans to work on a plan in the early part of this year with a view to migrating the DTT platform to DVB-T2 and HEVC in parallel to increase the bandwidth available for services
The plan for a UHD multiplex is part of a wider set of plans to modernize the French DTT platform following a consultation in the second half of last year. Ideas that remain to be firmed up include the launch of encrypted pay video-on-demand services. The CSA plans to discuss this with interested parties in the second quarter of this year.
The watchdog will also work on a plan in the first half of this year to harmonise HbbTV services on the DTT platform to ensure interoperability and work towards the introduction of conditional access on the platform.
At the time of launching its consultation last July, the CSA introduced the idea of a ‘multi-city’ multiplex for UHD services using locally available frequencies.