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Digital of television as a new technology : the adoption of digital television in Turkey

Taşdemir, Babacan
Analog television systems are rapidly being replaced by digital television systems accross the world. Turkey is not an exception to this development since the government has recently decided to shut-down analog television transmission across the country by 2016. In this context, subject matter of this study is the adoption of digital television in Turkey. And the study’s main aim is to understand and explain the economical and political rationale behind the conversion to digital television. In the switch process to digital television, digital television has been presented as a new “revolutionary” technology which is primarily to enhance the television “service” for viewers by the champions of the process and the governments. However, this study takes a critical position against this argument and argues that the adoption of digital television is primarily shaped by the commercial stakes of private broadcasting organisations and administrative concerns of governments. In this respect, this thesis argues that even though the digital television has technical superiorities to analog television systems which facilitates the introduction more television channels with higher audio-visual quality, the adoption of digital television does not include any project to improve the quality of television content, the equal access to information in the society and thus citizenship in a democratic society. Quite the contrary, since digital television facilitates and improves pay television implementations, digital television seems to deteriorate the imbalance in the society in accessing the information. It is therefore necessary to put “reserve” on the expectations from digital television. To articulate this thesis, different national contexts including USA and Britain as leading countries and Turkey in digital television conversion process are dealt with in the study. Firstly, the American and Britain experience of digital television which does not exclude the European context are examined in terms of common developments as well as the pecularities of the countries concerning to switch to digital television. Lastly, in the framework given above, the developments as to the digital television in Turkey are examined in detail. As well as the assessments about recent developments as to the issue, interviews carried out with the representatives of the broadcasting industry and regulatory authorities are also included in the analysis. Hence, this study should be considered as a descriptive research which aims to contribute the academic efforts to develop a conceptual framework to the digital television debate in Turkey.