The Danish public broadcaster Danmarks Radio switched off its remaining analogue television transmitters in the night of October 31/November 1 and is now “all digital.” At the same time, the new HD channel DR HD was launched. And pay TV platform Boxer was able to launch its full package of channels.
Danmarks Radio (DR) operates two nationwide multiplexes. On the first, it transmits its national channels DR1 and DR2, as well as the semi-public TV2 channel. A number of local and regional broadcasters are also accommodated on the multiplex. As a special service, DR broadcasts all newscasts between 17.00 and 20.00 hours simultaneously with sign language.
On the second multiplex, DR has launched three new channels – the HD channel DR HD, kids channel Ramasjang and culture channel DR K. Also new on terrestrial is the news channel DR Update and parliamentary channel Folketinget.
DR HD will broadcast only 100% native HD material, according to the broadcaster. It will be on air daily from 18.00 till midnight and at weekends from 16.00 till 1.00 in the morning. Programming will consist of movies, TV series and documentaries.
With the analogue transmitters switched off, Danish pay TV operator Boxer could also launch its first full bouquet of channels. Boxer now transmits 31 pay channels nationwide (see earlier report in Broadband TV News for more details and a full channel line-up). Boxer also transmits three free-to-air channels, TV4 Sverige, TV2 Norge and ARD from Germany.
Boxer was awarded the DTT licence in April 2008 for a twelve year period. Until now, the operator broadcast a limited bouquet of channels, but can now offer its full bouquet. Including the DR channels, the total DTT offering is now 40 channels. Boxer positions itself as the first ral alternative for cable and DTH satellite with a potential reach of 99.5% of the population.
Danish viewers must buy a MPEG-4 terrestrial receiver in order to receive the second DR mutliplex. The first will continue to be available in MPEG-2. Satellite viewers subscribing to Canal Digital will also be able to see some of the new channels (see Broadband TV News passim).
The analogue switch-off has also posed some problems for the German cabler Kabel Deutschland KDG, which distributes the two main Danish channels DR1 and TV2 in analogue to about 50,000 Danish speaking people living in the northern part of Germany (South Schleswig) near the border under a special agreement between the broadcaster and the operator signed in 2006. KDG has now decided to receive the digital signals off air and distribute these in analogue.
“It is essential for the dissemination of Danish culture and identity to the Danish minority south of the border that you are able to watch Danish television. DR and TV 2 have together lobbied for more than a year to attain a future-proof settlement with Kabel Deutschland. We have finally succeeded, and we are very happy with the solution, “said Mette Bock, director of production at DR, in a statement.
In the future, the two channels will (also) be distributed digitally on the KDG network in South Schleswig.