UPDATE: Canal+ Group has officially launched TNTSAT, a package of channels designed to replicate the line up on the French DTT or ‘TNT’ platform. 18 channels will be available for areas where TNT is not yet available, although Canal will no doubt be hoping that it will be able to upgrade some customers to its premium packages. The package went live in the Lorraine region on Thursday (June 7).
The line-up will consist of TF1, France 2, France 3, France 4, France 5, M6, TMC, W9, NT1, BFM TV, i Tele, LCP, arte, Europe 2 TV, NRJ 12, Gulli and Direct 8. Also, the overseas channel France O will be included. The regional variations from France 3 will not be available on launch, but will be added this September, when further capacity is made available on Astra at 19 degrees East. In that case, 24 different regional edition will be made available.
Initially TNTSAT will target the areas where TNT reception is not possible. This includes the area around Metz and Lorraine and later le Var and Draguignan. In September, the service will be available nationwide. TNTSAT will be available free-to-view, but a smart card is required for reception in order to comply with copyright restrictions.
There remain plans for a non-commercial ‘Franco Freesat’, possibly from the existing Atlantic Bird position at 5 degrees West. But the Canal group has now taken the lead by offering the TNTSAT bouquet later this month.