SES Astra will launch a new platform for HD broadcasters to be called HD+.
RTL will be the first broadcaster to launch with HD versions of RTL and Vox. The channels on the HD+ platform will be encrypted and a smart card required for reception. They will transmit in MPEG-4 and the 1080i HD format.
The satellite operator has not yet named a launch date, but said it will be “late in the autumn.”
The HD+ platform will be managed by SES-Astra and use the Astra position at 19.2 degrees East. The satellite operator will also manage encryption and smart card distribution.
As a charter broadcaster, RTL Deutschland has leased long term capacity on the satellite. The operator said it is also talking to other potential customers for the new platform, which will be open to all broadcasters.
In a way, HD+ marks the re-birth of an old concept, that of the short-lived Entavio. It is not known if reception of the channels on HD+ will require a subscription or a one-time smart card and activation fees.
“The new service creates an attractive added value for viewers,” said Wilfried Urner, CEO of the new subsidiary Astra HD Plus in Unterfoehring near Munich, in a statement.
“HD offers razor-sharp images in vivid colours and unique brilliance and is the driving force for the change of TV households to digital reception. With HD+, we will have opportunities for growth in the television field and the expanding HD programming choices for viewers enlarge. This creates a new basis for the reception of high-quality HD programming. “