In a surprise move, the Airfield Media Group has signed a long-term contract with Eutelsat for capacity on the Hot Bird neighbourhood and associated ground services for the distribution of its new French language TéléSat DTH platform for Belgium. Until now, Airfield only used the Astra platform for its existing services.
The new capacity will be used to broadcast the five Belgian French-language channels, RTBF La Une and La Deux, RTL-TVi, Club RTL and Plug TV. The new distribution contract follows the news that the Belgian French language broadcaster RTBF is switching the distribution of its free-to-air international RTBFSat channel from Astra at 19 degrees East to the Eutelsat Hot Bird position (see here our earlier report).
The service is scheduled to launch in December. Direct-to-home satellite reception will be available throughout Belgium with MPEG 4 decoders (MPEG 2 compatible) using Nagravision’s Mediaguard 3 encryption system.
The contract also covers provision of contribution links, multiplexing and uplinking of the five TéléSat channels from Eutelsat’s Rambouillet teleport in France.
Airfield currently has two DTH platforms, Canal Digitaal Satelliet for The Netherlands and TV Vlaanderen for Dutch speaking Belgium, using the dual Astra positions of 19 and 23.5 degrees East. For TéléSat the plan is to offer dual-LNBs in order to combine the offer on Hot Bird with that of Astra at 19 degrees East, which carries the bulk of the French language channels as part of the Canal Satélitte Numérique bouquet.