Vodafone Germany is rolling out its Vodafone TV service with its hybrid Vodafone TV Center at the heart of the system. The hybrid box allows customers to (continue) to receive analogue cable and digital satellite chanenls alongside Vodafone TV’s IPTV offer. The box will automatically select the best possible reception.
Vodafone’s plans were first revealed at last year’s IBC in Amsterdam, when Diego Massidda, director of video & connected, Vodafone Germany, outlined the company’s TV ambitions. The original launch date of December 2010 was not achieved, but after a trial period with several hundred subscribers, the operator has now started to roll out the service.
A starter package, including 16 Mbps broadband access and basic TV comprising 50 TV and 12 HD channels, will cost €39.95 per month. New susbcribers need to sign a contract for a minimum of 24 months. Rental of the IPTV receiver including a 320 GB PVR is included in the subscription fee. For other Vodafone subscription plans there is a €10 supplement for the basic TV offer.
In order to receive the IPTV channels, people need a broadband connection of at least 5 Mbps. This speed is also sufficient for watching the VOD titles as progressive download stream. For the HD channels the customer needs at least 12 Mbps – or a satellite dish for the reception of the FTA channels only.
The company promises on top of the dozens of free-to-air and premium channels, “thousands of movies” from its VOD library with details to be announced. Of course an EPG is part of the offer. Additonal thematic packages as well as bouquets in Turkish, Polish and Russian will be available.
This week, both the RTL Group and ProSiebenSat.1 announced they concluded carriage deals with Vodafone. The IPTV service will carry RTL Group’s free to air channels RTL, Vox, RTL II, Super RTL and n-tv, as well as its premium channels RTL Crime, Passion and RTL Living. The HD offer also brings the broadcaster’s two HD channels, RTL HD and Vox HD.
From ProSiebenSat.1, Vodafone will offer Sat.1, ProSieben, kabel eins, 9Live and sixx as well as premium channels Sat.1 Comedy and kabel eins classics. Sat.1 HD, ProSieben HD and kabel eins HD will be included in the HD bouquet. The basic HD offer also includes Das Erste HD, ZDF HD and Sport1 HD.
The entry of Vodafone into Germany’s TV market is interesting, especially after the announcement that Deutsche Telekom is now again entering the TV wholesale market together with Sky Deutschland. Vodafone has am advanced propostion with their hybird IPTV box allowing customers to continue to use their existing way of watching television (via analogue cable and digital DTH) on top of which they are able to receive the additional TV channels and VOD service via IPTV.
This is really the second time the operator has tried to enter the TV market. Before Vodafone took control of Arcor, the company also launched an IPTV service, but ended the experimental roll-out because it could not make the business case work.
It remains to be seen if Vodafone can be successful with the more advanced product in the German traditional TV market.