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Wide-screen television services already launched in ten Member States

Commissioners Bangemann (Industry, Information Technologies and Telecommunications) and Oreja (Culture and Audiovisual Policy) recently presented the results of this year's first call for proposals (95/1) under the Community's "Action Plan for the Introduction of Advanced Tele...

Commissioners Bangemann (Industry, Information Technologies and Telecommunications) and Oreja (Culture and Audiovisual Policy) recently presented the results of this year's first call for proposals (95/1) under the Community's "Action Plan for the Introduction of Advanced Television Services in Europe". Through this call, aimed at promoting the introduction of the 16:9 wide-screen television format in Europe, the Commission will contribute towards the transmission of nearly 20,000 hours of 16:9 wide-screen broadcasting. Wide-screen broadcasting will now make its debut in Ireland and Sweden, bringing the number of Member States in which wide-screen TV services are available up to ten (France, Germany, The Netherlands, Spain, Portugal, Greece, Sweden, Ireland) The market is now beginning to respond to this rapid extension of wide-screen TV services. Wide-screen television sets were present in force at the Berlin consumer electronics show earlier this month and consumers will soon be able to buy them in all popular sizes, choosing from around ten or so different brands. Competitive pricing will further encourage consumers to consider 16:9 TVs not as high-end luxury products, but as the natural choice for the future. Commenting on these developments Commissioners Bangemann and Oreja stated that "It is very gratifying that the market is responding to the Action Plan so positively, just as the Commission had hoped. Broadcasters and producers in the five other Member States have just one more year to join the Action Plan before it ends. They should hurry while offer lasts". The overall objective of the Action Plan is to accelerate consumer uptake of wide-screen TV by overcoming the "chicken and egg" problem: broadcasters would not transmit 16:9 without TV sets while manufacturers would not produce them without broadcasting. The Action Plan breaks the vicious circle by contributing towards broadcasters' and producers' extra costs incurred in introducing 16:9. The next call for proposals under the Action Plan will be published in the Official Journal of the European Communities early in 1996.