These days, many televisions stay black – at least for a few seconds. “Your picture will soon be gone,” warns a commercial: “DVB-T will be switched off!” The Freenet company is calling on viewers to convert as quickly as possible to DVB-T2 HD, the new standard for aerial television that is coming to an end in many regions March will be broadcast.
There is no need to panic. With the dramatic message, the company wants to boost business – especially at Christmas time, the money for electronics is easy. Nevertheless, it makes sense that viewers who watch TV via antenna should soon worry.
Because if you wait too long, you could actually be without a picture for a short time after the changeover: “We fear that there will not be enough devices in March,” says Wolfgang Breuer, head of Media Broadcast, which has been part of Freenet since March. But giving thought also means thinking about alternatives, whether satellite, cable or the Internet.
What will change for consumers in 2017
New customers of classic life insurances will have to be prepared for a further decline in the guaranteed interest from the coming year. As of January 1, 2017, the so-called guaranteed interest rate for newly concluded contracts will drop to 0.9 percent – from the current 1.25 percent.
From April 4, a new 50-euro note will make life more difficult for counterfeiters. A total of 5.4 billion pieces are printed for initial equipment. The new note, like the new 20 euro note, has a portrait window as a new security feature. If you hold the note against the light, the window becomes transparent and you can see a portrait of the Greek mythical figure Europe. The 50 is the most widely used denomination for euro banknotes and the second most common counterfeit banknote in the Eurosystem.
In the case of vacuum cleaners, the performance is cut again. As of September 1, vacuum cleaners may only have a maximum power consumption of 900 watts according to the energy-saving guidelines from Brussels. So far it’s 1600 watts.
Quite a few citizens who still receive their programs via antenna will have to adapt in the spring. In the night of March 29, 2017, the broadcast signal in many regions will be switched from the previous DVB-T standard to the new DVB-T2 HD standard. Anyone who has not made provisions for this and has obtained an additional set-top box, for example, will then no longer have reception via the digital antenna television. With the change, it will be possible for the first time to receive television via antenna in HD quality. The conversion should be completed nationwide by mid-2019. In the first metropolitan areas, six programs in DVB-T2 HD have been available in test mode since May.
But there are also changes for a number of cable TV customers. The cable network operator Unitymedia will completely shut down its analog offer in June 2017. From June 1st, the cable TV offer will only be delivered digitally. A digital receiver or a flat screen TV with an integrated cable tuner is then required for reception. According to the broadcaster, however, 85 percent of customers are already using the much more extensive digital offering.
Good news for vacationers: According to the plans of the EU Commission, the roaming charges for calling and surfing in other EU countries are to be abolished in June 2017. However, the plans have not yet cleared all the hurdles.
From July 1st, the health insurances will also cover the costs of a video consultation with the doctor. With the so-called E-Health Act, this offer becomes part of the statutory health care provision. The use of advice via the Internet is not a must, but voluntary for patients, emphasizes the North Rhine-Westphalia consumer advice center.
There is a special “gift” for millions of employees in autumn: Reformation Day on October 31, 2017, on the occasion of the 500th anniversary, is exceptionally a national public holiday.
The name suggests it: DVB-T2 HD is a further development of digital antenna television DVB-T. With the new standard, it is possible to transmit images in high-resolution HD format – unlike satellite, cable and Internet TV, this has not yet been possible with an antenna. In addition, more programs will be offered in the future. A number of private channels should also be available, albeit for a fee.
The introduction of the new standard has been certain for a long time. Since then, with the right devices, viewers have been able to focus on the aerial television. The complete changeover will take place in many regions on March 29th, with further locations to follow later. “In the expansion stage, 80 percent of Germans should be able to watch DVB-T2 HD,” promises Media Broadcast Manager Breuer – with the old standard it is around 67 percent. The operator provides more detailed information on the website.
But as the advertising says: without a new receiver, most screens will remain black. Because old devices usually cannot cope with the efficient compression standard HEVC (H.265), which reduces the amount of data in DVB-T2 HD so that better image quality is possible despite less bandwidth. As a result, millions of reception boxes will soon become electronic waste.
So what should viewers do?