The Austrian public broadcaster ORF and media authority RTR are to introduce a special digital multiplex for cable before the end of the year. The bouquet will initially be offered for free for a period of five years, but will come with conditions that are not acceptable to the country’s largest operator, UPC.
The plan is to launch the multiplex from mid-December and will include all digital channels as well as a future HD channel and enhanced MHP services, such as digital teletext. The devil is in this last detail, as it would introduce MHP on Austrian cable. A spokesperson for UPC has already stated this is not acceptable.
ORF offers enhanced services via DTT, but the take-up of MHP equipped receivers is not very successful. The broadcaster also plans to start HD transmissions in 2008. They will consist of a simulcast of the first ORF channel from the start of the European Football championships next year. To this end the broadcaster will acquire additional Astra satellite capacity.