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A Go-Slow on HDTV

High-definition television, HDTV, is only being slowly introduced in Finland. The Ministry of Communications is examining the potential of the system, while TV companies are only now starting to acquire the technology, possibly for use in extra services. One factor slowing the introduction of HDTV services is that the difference in quality can only be clearly seen on large screens. The Finnish Broadcasting Company, YLE, does not plan the widespread use of HDTV broadcasting in the near future. However, according to the company's managing director, Mikael Jungner, YLE is considering new special high-definition services. The new technology will be tried out in Olympics programming and some other sporting events. YLE's main channels will continue using the present digital TV signal system at least until 2016. Wariness after Digital Problems

The teething problems encountered in the transition to digital television have made TV companies wary. The commercial broadcasters MTV-3 and Nelonen say that they will follow YLE's lead in the development of HDTV. For its part, YLE does not want a pioneering role in the roll-out of this technology development.

According to Jungner, there is no rush as the technology is not yet mature. YLE will gradually upgrade its production equipment to HD standard as ageing equipment is replaced.

At present, a few commercial companies have HDTV transmissions, but there are only a few thousand HDTV-enabled receivers to view these broadcasts on in Finland.

A decision is expected within a couple of years on how HDTV will be developed and implemented.

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