SES Astra has announced that the Austrian public broadcaster ORF will start broadcasting its second HD channel on Astra. The launch of ORF2 HD on SES Astra’s 19.2 degrees East orbital position is scheduled for December 5 and follows the successful roll-out of ORF1 HD in June 2008. ORF will continue to broadcast both ORF1 and ORF2 in SD.
The news was first reported a month ago in Broadband TV News (see story here). The satellite operator said it succeeded in almost doubling the number of HD channels and now offers close to 100 HD channels via its satellite system.
To receive the HD offer from ORF, TV viewers need an HD ready screen as well as an HD set-top box with a suitable smartcard provided by ORF. Based on figures provided by market research company GfK, about 2.2 million HD ready TV sets are expected to be sold in Austria by the end of 2009, meaning that around two thirds of Austrian TV homes will be equipped with HD ready screens.