All so-called ‘third channels’ from German public broadcaster ARD are going to be available in HD on the Astra satellite, according to a report in Medien Bulletin. The broadcasters are currently negotiating satellite capacity with SES-Astra, said Herbert Tillmann, technical director at Bayerischen Fernsehen.
Apart from the first national public channel Das Erste, the ARD also has regional channels in all German states. Some of them have a large programme library. All are available nationwide on cable and satellite; some of them also have terrestrial distribution.
The four biggest of the regional broadcaster, Bayerischen Rundfunk, WDR, NDR and MDr are expected to launch their HD versions first. Tillman expects a time frame of 2013 – 2014. It is not likely that the thematic channels Eins Plus and Eins Extra will go HD anytime soon.
With regards to the fact that ARD still broadcasts its HD signal in 720p, Tillman said the decision has been made to produce all native HD content in 1080i and that a switch might be possible in the bear future.