The Dutch cable operator UPC will launch two RTL channels in HD this Thursday (October 15), and early next year two more RTL channels will also start in HD.
RTL7 and RTL8 are the channels that will first be launched in HD, mainly because they broadcast a lot of TV series and movies that are available in native HD. They include Law & Order, 1000 Ways to Die, Dr. Phil and Oprah Winfrey and movies such as Anaconda and Boys Don’t Cry. Next year, the flagship channels RTL4 and RTL5 will follow (see also Broadband TV News passim). This month, UPC will also launch a RTL Catch-up TV service on its VOD platform.
SBS, the other main Dutch commercial broadcaster, is also preparing the launch of HD services, but so far it has not made any official announcement on the exact launch dates and platforms on which the HD channels will be available.
However, glass fibre backbone operator Eurofiber has announced it had won the contract to transport the HD signals from the Amsterdam SBS HQ and studios to the MediaGateway in Hilversum via TeleCity 2 in Amsterdam. From Hilversum, the signals can be transported to the cable networks. The company said the new connections are already in place and can transport the streams of SBS 6, Net 5 and Veronica.
UPDATE – At this moment (Wednesday, October 14), RTL and the other major Dutch cable operator, Ziggo, have not yet reached an agreement to carry the HD versions of RTL7 and RTL8 on their networks.