Future of digital TV uncertain

The future of digital television coverage of Formula One is due to be decided soon according to Bernie Ecclestone, who denied recent reports that the service has already ceased. Digital TV was introduced in Germany and elsewhere in the late...

The future of digital television coverage of Formula One is due to be decided soon according to Bernie Ecclestone, who denied recent reports that the service has already ceased. Digital TV was introduced in Germany and elsewhere in the late nineties and in the UK this year but public interest was not as high as expected.

Additional coverage on digital from the usual terrestrial showing of qualifying and races included Friday practices, more camera angles both in car and on the track and more interviews. However, the high running costs of digital transmission were not covered by subscribers as the interest in Formula One dropped off this year.

Ecclestone was surprised at the low viewing figures: "We did a super job, but there was just not the take up we expected," he told the BBC. In a recent interview at the launch of the 2003 Australian Grand Prix, Ecclestone conceded that the pay-per-view coverage of F1 simply hadn't worked.

While the future of the digital coverage is uncertain, terrestrial broadcasts of F1 are due to be overhauled with the addition of some digital technology. This enhancement of terrestrial TV coverage was used for this year's US Grand Prix at Indianapolis, although many viewers didn't notice any particular difference.

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Series Automotive , Formula 1
Drivers Bernie Ecclestone