On July 1st, 2010 the analog broadcasting in Estonia was switched off and replaced with Digital TV.
Digital Television (DTV) is a modern method of transmitting TV signals based on the newest digital signal processing technology. Unlike analog TV, where a constant video and audio signal are transmitted, in DTV all signals from the TV studio to the viewer are sent in a digitally encoded form. Thus DTV is much more flexible and has numerous important advantages compared to conventional analog television:
- Quality transmission of image and sound – a significantly clearer picture for the lack of static and the characteristic “shadows” and disruptions of analog TV.
- The opportunity to use different qualities of images and screen formats, such as wide screen format, 16:9.
- Large savings on bandwidth — it is possible to transmit 4–5 different TV shows simultaneously in one analog TV channel, plus much more additional information and services such as EPG (Electronic Programme Guide), superteletext, e-commerce, Internet and e-mail, multimedia applications, radio, etc.)
- Mobile reception of programs is possible as well (from moving vehicles).
On the 23rd of December 2003 the Ceremonial Opening of the Digital TV Environment took place at Tallinn TV Tower. In 2006, by activating DTV transmitters in Tallinn, Valgjärve and Tartu, Levira started the rollout of three MPEG-4 AVC Digital Terrestrial TV networks. Commercial launch took place in December 2006. Adding Pärnu, Koeru, Kohtla-Nõmme, Orissaare, Haapsalu and Kuressaare transmitters in 2007 the coverage of more than 90% of Estonian population has been achieved. From spring 2008 DTT is available on the whole country territory.
Since 2006 through DTV programme up to 30 digital free-to-air and pay-TV, local and foreign channels are available. On April 19th, 2007 Estonian National TV (ETV) started transmitting its main program on Estonian DTT platform.
According to the recommendation of the EC Digital TV should replace analog broadcasting in the whole EU by the end of 2012 latest.