How digital terrestrial DVB-T2 works

After the historic switch-off ended in 2012, with which we said goodbye to analog TV broadcasts to switch to digital terrestrial ones, we are preparing to experience another great change: that linked to the transition to the new digital TV and the DVB standard. T2 HEVC which will allow us to have even better video and audio quality, high definition channels and content up to 4K resolution; all with less electromagnetic pollution, without giving up any of the channels currently available and facilitating the spread of an important technology such as that of 5G mobile networks.

As happened with the previous switch-off, however, to access the contents transmitted via the new standards, it will be necessary to have a compatible TV or decoder. How do you say? Were you aware of this but, not being particularly knowledgeable in technology, you don’t know how to check if your TV is compatible with DVB-T2 digital terrestrial ? Would you like to have some more information on the timing of the switch-off and how the transition to DVB-T2 digital terrestrial works ? Don’t panic, I’m here to help you with that.

In the next few lines I will talk to you in detail about the new standards for digital TV (also as regards satellite TV), the steps and timing provided for the switch-off and, finally, I will guide you in verifying the characteristics of your TV and in the eventual purchase of a new compatible TV or decoder, also indicating how to take advantage of the Bonuses made available by the Italian Government. In support of this guide, the New Digital TV initiative created by the MiSE ( Ministry for Economic Development) with the aim of helping citizens to understand and successfully make the transition to the new digital TV standards: you will find several interesting links in this regard during the tutorial. Enjoy the reading!


  • How the new digital TV works
  • New digital TV: since when?
  • How to check if the TV needs to be changed
  • How to make the switch to the new digital TV
  • New digital TV: Bonus TV – Decoder and TV scrapping bonus
  • For more information

How the new digital TV works

Before tackling the more practical part of the speech by discovering when and how to switch to the new digital TV , let me clarify how this new standard technically works and why the switch was necessary .

Well, the technology behind the new digital terrestrial TV is DVB-T2 (which stands for Digital Video Broadcasting – Second Generation Terrestrial ) which uses HEVC Main10 ( High Efficiency Video Coding ) for the transmission of content. To be “in step” and to be able to access the broadcasts of the new digital terrestrial, therefore, your television or your decoder must be compatible with both DVB-T2 and the HEVC Main10 codec . However, it is not necessary to change the antenna .

It is a direct evolution from the DVB-T technology used so far and adopted after the transition from analogue to digital terrestrial between 2008 and 2012. But what are the advantages of this technology and why it was necessary to adopt it ? I’ll explain it to you immediately.

DVB-T2 is more efficient in bandwidth management; therefore, without getting too technical, we can say that it allows for less electromagnetic pollution (the signal transmission occurs at a lower power), while the transition from the current MPEG-2 video format to the MPEG-4 one and, finally , to the one with HEVC Main10 encoding allows you to have better audio and video quality in broadcasts (with content up to 4K resolution ).

In short, less bandwidth is used, it pollutes less and channels are seen better (the number of which will not be cut). Apart from the indisputable advantage in technological terms, however, the transition to the new digital TV was also necessary because the European Community ordered the transfer of the 700 MHz band (694-790 MHz) to mobile telephony , and more specifically to 5G network , the adoption of which is expected to be increasingly widespread in the coming years.

Looking beyond digital terrestrial, the concept of new digital TV also concerns satellite , where the DVB-S2 standard ( Digital Video Broadcasting Satellite 2 ) will allow broadcasts in HD and 4K: standard definition channels will disappear and the current MPEG- 2 still used by some channels will be definitively supplanted by the more efficient MPEG-4 (or higher) encoding.

When switching to DVB-S2, to continue watching Rai and Mediaset channels on the satellite, it will be necessary to use a tivùsat certified CAM (free of charge).

New digital TV: since when?

At this point it is natural to ask when the switch to the new digital TV will take place . Well, the transition to this new technology has been programmed to be gradual and comfortable for all citizens.

In October 2021, the voluntary disposal of the MPEG-2 coding began in favor of the MPEG-4 coding on the DVB-T standard , so the “old” DVB-T digital terrestrial standard is still being used but switching to a new format high-definition video, which requires the use of a TV or set-top box with support for HD channels. Do not panic though: those who already view channels in high definition (eg Rai 1 HD, Rai 2 HD, Canale 5 HD etc.) do not need to replace their equipment in this transition phase.

You can find the list of channels that have made the switch to MPEG-4 on the Nuova TV Digitale site of the MiSE , while if you need a hand to watch HD channels on DTT you can take a look at my tutorial on the subject.

On November 15, 2021, the re-farming process also started , i.e. the reassignment of the rights of use of the 700 MHz frequency band which, as previously mentioned, will be destined for mobile telephone operators for the development of 5G technology: digital terrestrial TV broadcasters will be repositioned on the sub700 band . This process will take place by geographical area and will end on 30 June 2022 . The first region involved was Sardinia, we will then continue with other regions according to the road map available on this page .

But what does all this mean for users? Simple: that you need to re-tune the channels on the TV or decoder currently used to receive digital terrestrial. If you don’t know how to do it, take a look at my guide on how to tune digital terrestrial channels and the video tutorial available on the Nuova Digital TV website.

Finally , starting from January 2023 , the DVBT-2 standard will be activated at national level and to continue seeing the entire television offer it will be necessary to have TVs or decoders compatible with DVB-T2 and HEVC Main10 . This will be the famous definitive switch-off to the new digital TV.

In short, time is running out and you must not be caught unprepared for the appointment , but fortunately there are several discounts that allow you to buy televisions and decoders compatible with the new digital terrestrial taking advantage of interesting bonuses . To find out more, read on.

How to check if the TV needs to be changed

Not sure if your TV is compatible with the new digital TV? No problem, I’ll explain how to carry out this verification.

As for the new digital terrestrial , the first phase of transition is the one that sees the transition of transmissions from the MPEG-2 to the MPEG-4 format (as explained above). To check if your TV or decoder is compatible with the channels available at this stage (where the old DVB-T standard is still used before switching to the new DVB-T2 standard with HEVC Main10 encoding, scheduled for January 2023) tune to an HD channel such as Rai Uno HD (501) , Canale 5 HD (505) or La7 HD (507) : if you see at least one, your TV or decoder is able to support MPEG-4 encoding and therefore you don’t need to do anything. Otherwise try to do onere-tune the channels and repeat the operation: if you can’t see the channels in HD in this way either, you have to change TV or buy a decoder compatible with the new digital TV.

To check the compatibility of your TV or decoder with DVB-T2 digital terrestrial (the one that will go into effect from January 2023), check if the DVB-T2 HEVC Main10 indication is present in the device data sheet : in case yes, you will have no problem receiving channels after the 2023 switch-off.

Another test you can do is to tune into test channels 100 and 200 : if Test HEVC Main10 appears , your device is compatible with the new digital TV. If not, try to re-tune the channels and repeat the operation: if you still can’t see the message relating to passing the test, you have to change your TV or decoder.

For more information on what has just been explained, I invite you to consult my tutorial on how to see if the TV is DVB-T2 and this page of the Nuova TV Digitale site of the MiSE.

As regards, however, the new DVB-S2 satellite transmission standard , the switch-off began at the end of November 2020 (with the gradual abandonment of the MPEG-2 channels) and its end is set by 2021. The users will only need to verify that their TV or decoder supports the HD format. Basically, only those who own a TV or a decoder with SD format will have to replace their equipment to continue viewing the channels (which with the transition to the new standard will only be in HD).

How to make the switch to the new digital TV

If the tests mentioned above showed that your current set is unable to receive broadcasts from the new digital TV, you need to update it.

To make the transition to the new digital TV you must therefore buy a TV compatible with DVB-T2 and with HEVC Main10 encoding : by law, all televisions on the market in Italy from 22 December 2018, both in physical stores and online. However, it is not necessary to change the antenna. If you need some advice on this, you can check out my buying guide on the best TVs .

If you do not intend to change TV, you can also buy an external decoder compatible with DVB-T2 and HEVC Main10 and connect the latter to the TV (via HDMI or SCART cable) and to the antenna cable. Once the connection has been established, simply set the TV to the source to which you connected the decoder (eg HDMI1 ), tune the channels on the latter and you will be able to enjoy all the broadcasts of the new digital terrestrial. If you need advice on this, you can take a look at my buying guide on the best digital terrestrial decoders .

As far as satellite TV is concerned , as mentioned above, only those who own a TV or decoder that only supports SD content will have to replace their equipment to continue viewing the channels and adapt to the new DVB-S2 transmission standard . If you want, you can take a look at the most interesting models of the moment by consulting my buying guide on satellite decoders .

For the purchase of TVs and decoders compatible with the new digital TV, you can take advantage of the TV Bonus – Decoder and the TV scrapping bonus provided by the MiSE: find more details below.

New digital TV: Bonus TV – Decoder and TV scrapping bonus

The Government has allocated numerous funds to incentivize, in the period 2019-2022, the change of the television or the purchase of a decoder compatible with the DVB-T2 and HEVC Main10 standards, through bonuses to be paid to citizens.

Going into more detail, there are two bonuses available: the TV – Decoder Bonus and the TV scrapping bonus , to access which certain requirements must be met.

The Bonus TV – Decoder , with a value of up to 30 euros , is a discount dedicated to the purchase of TVs and decoders suitable for the reception of television programs with the new broadcasting standards DVB-T2 – HEVC Main10, as well as for the purchase of decoders. for satellite reception.

The Bonus is already available and will be available until 31 December 2022 (or when the allocated resources have been used up). It can be requested by families with ISEE up to € 20,000 and is valid for each family unit (therefore only one member per family unit can use it). It is disbursed in the form of a discount applied by the seller of the TV or decoder on the relative sale price, for an amount equal to a maximum of 30 euros. To obtain the discount, citizens must submit a request to the seller to purchase a TV or decoder benefiting from the bonus (the list of participating sellers can be found  here ).

You can download the application form  and get all the relevant information on this page of the Nuova TV Digitale site of the MiSE. For further information on the use and application of the Bonus TV – Decoder, however, you can refer to this document and to my tutorial on how to access the Bonus TV .

At the same time as the TV Bonus, it is possible to take advantage of the TV Scrapping Bonus , which however is only intended for televisions, not for decoders. The latter, as easily understood, is aimed at favoring the replacement and correct disposal of obsolete television sets by providing a 20% discount on the purchase price, up to a maximum of 100 euros on the purchase of a TV compatible with the new digital TV.

The incentive will be available until 31 December 2022 (or when the allocated resources have been used up) and provides for the scrapping only of televisions purchased before 22 December 2018. Only Italian residents who are up to date with the payment of the TV fee can access it. ; there are no ISEE limits.

Scrapping can be carried out directly at the  participating retailers ( here the complete list) from which the new TV is purchased, upon delivery of the obsolete TV to be scrapped and the self-certification form certifying its purchase before 22 December 2018. In alternatively, it is possible to deliver the old TV directly to an authorized ecological island and then you can go with the  self-declaration form signed by a WEEE employee to a participating shop for the purchase of the new TV.

For more details, I invite you to consult the Nuova TV Digitale site of the MiSE and my tutorial on how to access the Bonus TV .

For more information

By now you should be pretty clear on how the new digital TV works. In any case, if you need further help or are looking for more in-depth information on switching to DVB-T2 and / or DVB-S2, you can consult the New Digital TV site of the MiSE , in which you can find everything explained up to the small details: how the new digital TV technologies work, when and how the switch will take place, what it takes to receive broadcasts, how to take advantage of state bonuses and much more.

In particular, I recommend that you take a look at the FAQ section with the answers to the most frequently asked questions. Furthermore, you can contact the WhatsApp number 3401206348 or the call center at 06.87.800.262 and consult the social channels of the New Digital TV on Facebook and Instagram .

by Abdullah Sam
I’m a teacher, researcher and writer. I write about study subjects to improve the learning of college and university students. I write top Quality study notes Mostly, Tech, Games, Education, And Solutions/Tips and Tricks. I am a person who helps students to acquire knowledge, competence or virtue.

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