Two of Austria’s 25 cable operators have ordered digital set-top boxes (DVB-C); between the two of them, Kabelsignal (of Niederösterreich) and Liwest (of Oberösterreich) 30,000 sets have been ordered. Other operators who are likely to join are Bnet (Burgenland) Salzburg AG and Telesystem Tirol. The STBs are part of the special digitalisation programme with a €40 subsidy for the consumer. In total there are 66,666 subsidised cable tuners available. Only interactive boxes with MHP capabilities are eligible for the subsidy. The two operators also will offer an HD box.
Austria’s largest cable operator UPC Telekabel is not taking part in the programme, as the company does not sell its set-top boxes, but rents them out. They also use OpenTV rather than MHP as middleware.
Nevertheless, UPC said it plans to switch to all digital in 2008. At the moment some 50,000 of the total of 505,000 television homes that subscribe to the company’s TV services have digital. The operator will also offer MHP functionality.