The Netherlands has become the first country in the world to end the transmission of free-to-air analogue television. Although a notable event in the global transition to digital transmissions, the vast majority of Dutch households receive television over cable, in most cases analogue.

Fewer than 75,000 households relied on analogue antennae, although 220,000 still have second sets. They will require a small decoder to receive digital terrestrial television signals.

The switch-over was originally planned for the start of 2006, but was postponed to provide more time for consumers to find alternative means of reception. It was originally scheduled for the end of October and then delayed twice.

KPN carried the cost of building the digital network and will continue to broadcast three state-supported channels and several regional public broadcasters. In return, KPN will use the remaining available capacity to carry a package of pay-television channels.

The digital terrestrial television service will be provided at high power, enabling it to be received on portable devices.

Although it is the first country to turn off analogue television transmissions, over 70% of the country still receives analogue cable television services. Cable companies have only recently begun to roll out digital services in the Netherlands.