The German public broadcaster ARD is to expand its Astra satellite capacity from January 2008. The additional transponder will not be used for additional programming, but rather to improve picture quality of its transmissions.
According to the ARD press department the move is in response to the growing number of flat screens in German homes, which require a better picture quality. The average data rate of the channels will be upped to 6 Mbps.
The broadcaster will also start to simulcast its main channel Das Erste in HD from 2010 onwards. The first regular HD broadcasts will start during the Olympic Winter Games in Vancouver.
ARD will also launch a special 100 second long edition of its Tageschau news programme for mobile TV users. From July onwards the news will be updated on an hourly basis and will be available for download. From October ARD will also offer an online ‘on demand’ service for its programmes.