RTL Nederland will launch four HD channels after the summer, according John de Jong, its head of distribution. Speaking to the Dutch Totaal TV magazine, De Jong explained that all four Dutch channels – RTL4, RTL5, RTL7 and RTL8 – will be simulcast in HD. Earlier, the broadcaster said it was not ready to start HD broadcasting this year.
During the past few months, the play out facilities for the Dutch RTL channels have all been upgraded to handle HD output, paving the road for a full HD rollout. The four channels, which operate under a Luxembourg licence, will be uplinked using the BCE (Broadcasting Centre Europe) facilities in Luxembourg.
Negotiations are under way with all platforms, including UPC, Ziggo, Canal Digitaal, as well as the IPTV providers KPN and Tele2. Because of the investments in HD, RTL expects the distribution partners to pay for the HD signals.
Earlier, SBS Broadcasting also said it expects payments from distributors, as this will be the only way to pay for the additional costs of HD production and distribution. SBS is likely to launch Net 5 and Veronica first in HD, with the flagship channel SBS6 following at a later date.
Should both RTL and SBS launch their HD channels, Dutch viewers will see their choice of HD dramatically increase. The three Dutch public channels are set to make their debut this Sunday, July 5.
With the addition of the commercial channels, there will be nine national HD broadcasters.
Following the move, The Netherlands will be the first country in Europe in which all major broadcasters transmit in HD.