On the morning of Thursday, Aug. 6, Director General Peter Duhan of public broadcaster Český Rozhlas flipped the switch and began testing the Czech Republic’s first full digital broadcasting network. Transmitting from a TV tower in Prague, the “DAB Praha” banner carries nine public radio stations, some of which were previously only available online.
Currently, DAB only reaches Prague and Central Bohemia, received by less than 20 percent of the country’s population. However, DAB is expected to expand to Brno, Ostraya and other areas over the next couple of years, the broadcaster said in a release. Full digitization will not occur before 2025, though, when current licenses for analog broadcasting come to an end.
“The main advantage is a wider choice,” said Miroslav Krupička, Radio Prague director, “because in this multiplex it will be not only the station of the public Czech Radio, but also its digital only or Internet only stations.”
Cost and availability of digital receivers are raising some concerns among commercial stations, but Czech Radio’s Head of Technical Section, Karel Zẏka, believes that digital is the way of the future.
“The analog world is closed, because of the frequency sources,” said Zẏka. “All the frequencies that are available are being used. And if we want to expand our range of programming, the number of stations and genres, digitization is the only alternative.”