HD growth continues unabated

The number of high definition channels operating in Europe has grown by 375 in the last year alone.

According to new data from the MAVISE TV database, developed by the European Audiovisual Observatory for the DG Communication of the European Commission, there are a total of 7,400 channels based in the European Union and candidate countries.

Of these 612 are broadcast in the HD format, an increase from 414 at the end of 2010, and 274 at the end of 2009. The figure combines both dedicated HD channels and simulcasts of established channels.

Sport remains the most important genre in HD television (approximately 20% of HD channels), followed by film and generalist channels (each around 15% of the total).

More than 50 channels are available through satellite packages in in Italy, Poland, the United Kingdom and Ireland, and more than 30 in Germany, France and the Netherlands.

The stronger cable offers can be found in Portugal, the Netherlands and Germany, where more than 30 channels can be found.

There are also around 20 channels transmitting in the 3D format.

New distribution platforms continue to be added, particularly in IPTV and pay DTT.

In 2011, a further three EU member states completed analogue switch off: Cyprus, France and Malta, bringing the EU total to 15. A further eight EU countries are expected to complete ASO (the United Kingdom, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Lithuania, Portugal, the Czech Republic and Slovakia) in 2012.

Delays are expected in Bulgaria, Poland, Romania and possibly also Hungary.

Switch-off has also taken place in non-EU countries such as Switzerland, Iceland, Croatia and Norway.

HD channels available in Europe by genre (December 2011 – in units)