Digital TV setbacks in Sweden

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HELSINKI--Four commercial TV stations in Sweden have postponed plans to launch separate digital TV terrestrial broadcasts from January 1, 1999.

In a joint letter, the four TV companies--Canal+, Kanal 5, TV3 and TV8--have asked the government to postpone the entire launch of digital television. The move means advertisers must wait for at least six months before the project finally gets underway.

Nokia, which has developed the set-top boxes needed to receive digital broad- casts, has encountered technical problems and does not expect to have the boxes ready for market launch until February 1999. Additionally, Nokia does not expect the product will be available in commercial volume until March, according to Nokia Marketing Director Michael Faresjo.

Given that the range of digital programming initially offered will be modest, it's uncertain how many households will be prepared to pay $625 for the set-top boxes.

Copyright December 1998, Crain Communications Inc.

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