Digital decoder shortage fears

The switch-off of the signal for the six biggest private television channels in the country from the main transmission point in Athens, Mt Hymettus, as of Friday has seen consumers rushing to buy decoders or TV sets capable of receiving the digital signal.

Retailers have been stunned by the huge demand for decoders — the cheapest solution during this crisis period, given the cost of digital TV sets — and many have expressed concern as to whether shops in Athens could start to run out of the devices as early as on Saturday.

Viewers in Athens wishing to watch Skai, Mega, Antenna, Alpha, Star and Makedonia TV will either have to acquire a set-top box (prices start at 30 euros) for each TV set, or buy new sets, or even redirect their rooftop aerials toward Mt Parnitha, which will continue to relay the analog signal of those channels for at least one more year.

State channels ET1, NET and ET3 are set to switch off their analog signal from Hymettus next month. The delay is due to the 2012 Olympics, which the state channels will be broadcasting from July 27 to August 12.

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