The new HD DTH platform HD Austria has launched with initially seven HD channels available for viewers in Austria, but expanding to ten channels in the near future.
The TV channels ProSieben Austria HD, SAT.1 Österreich HD, kabel eins austria HD, Puls 4 HD plus Comedy Central HD, Nickelodeon HD and N24 HD can be viewed via HD Austria. It is very likely that RTL HD, RTL II HD and Vox HD will soon be available in Austria as well, according to a press release from the M7 Group, owners of the HD Austria platform.
Dr. Michael Stix, director at ProSiebenSat1 Austria Group: “With the launch of four new Austrian HD channels, PUuls 4 HD, ProSieben Austria HD, Sat.1 Österreich HD und kabel eins austria HD, the ProSiebenSat.1 Austria group is again making a substantial, long-term investment in Austria as one of the most dynamic media locations. The costly HD expansion therefore also represents a sustained strengthening of private TV in Austria. In view of the new demands arising from HD, the ProSiebenSat.1 Austria group is planning to move into a new and modern location with state of the art studios, technical facilities and production.”
“The RTL group would like to provide viewers in Austria with the programmes in HD quality just as soon as this is possible and we are in final negotiations to ensure that we can achieve this as soon as we can,” explained Gerhard Riedler, CEO of IP Österreich, in a press statement.
The HD Austria package costs €49.90 for the first year in combination with a 12-month subscription. The offer includes a three-month free trial period. The HD Austria package costs €6.90 Euros a month with a monthly cancellation option.
In order to receive the HD Austria service, viewers need an Irdeto embedded satellite receiver or a CI+ module (Irdeto) for flat TVs (or a receiver with CI+slot) and an ORF Digital Sat smartcard (ICE).
Suitable receivers include the Hirschmann Sat receiver S-92, the WISI receivers OR 196 and OR 605+ HDA, the Thomson receiver TSR600CI and Strong SRT 7300CI+ as well as 54 LED-TVs from Loewe and virtually all Sony Bravia models in combination with the HD Austria CI+ module.
Further HD Austria-licensed receivers will follow in the next few weeks. The receivers licensed by HD Austria will be certified in compliance with the new Irdeto 3.10 standard in cooperation with ORF and TÜV Austria. HD channels from ORF and other German language channels can also be received.
ORS, the technical facilities company of public broadcaster ORF, has handled the set-top box certification for HD Austria. Norbert Grill, CEO of ORS: “For HD Austria we saw the necessity of further developing the encryption platform and to release a new generation of boxes. In connection with an extensive launch of HD, all programme providers approached us with the same requirement: their content had to be secured because this was requested by international studios. So with the approval of the industry we developed new specifications for receivers and built up the Irdeto system for use with the new ICE smart cards.
The set-top boxes, TV sets and modules with cards were tested and we took a very close look at the basic functions for TV viewers. Everything went according to plan. TÜV Austria was responsible for the test procedures and our role was the specification and the test signal. So HD Austria can now be received via the new ORF Digital Sat (ICE) smartcard. A total of 2.6 million smartcards are activated in Austria on our platform.”
Olaf Castritius, VP of the M7 Group said about his goals with HD Austria: “The HD Austria package is the ideal expansion to our offering. We will convince our existing AustriaSat customers, and of course new customers, very quickly of the quality of HD Austria. I am convinced that we will reach our target of 100,000 subscribers within the next three years. We are that optimistic because we are convinced that once viewers have experienced the picture and sound quality in HD they will be so impressed that they will not want to do without it anymore.”