The offering which will launch in early 2017 will contain a broad variety of encrypted commercial channels as well as several unencrypted channels such as commercial regional services, mainly in HD quality, according to the media authorities’ licencing commission ZAK.
The platform will also include channel packages which will be distributed to TV screens through the internet as OTT services.
The transition from the currently used DVB-T standard to the new system is scheduled to be completed in mid-2019. In parallel, public broadcasters ARD and ZDF will adopt DVB-T2/HEVC for their DTT transmissions from 2017. In contrast to commercial broadcast groups RTL and ProSiebenSat.1, ARD and ZDF will distribute their channels unencrypted.
From May 2016, the public and commercial broadcasters’ main channels will be transmitted in HD quality via DVB-T2/HEVC as part of a test run. DVB-T2/HEVC trials are currently underway in Berlin and Munich with Cologne/Bonn to follow in August 2015.
A broad range of TV sets and set-top-boxes compliant with DVB-T2/HEVC will become available in German retail stores later this year. The DVB-T receivers currently in the market aren’t capable of receiving the new standard.
The public and commercial broadcasters want to compile and carry out an information campaign together with the media authorities and Media Broadcast to enable a consumer-friendly transition to DVB-T2. The hardware industry and retailers are to be closely involved.
ZAK chairman Jürgen Brautmeier stressed that it must be ensured that broadcasters have non-discriminatory, equal access to the platform. The selection of the local and regional channels has to be made in accordance with the media authorities, he added.
Media Broadcast was the only applicant in the media authorities’ tender for operation of the DVB-T2 platform. The frequencies vacated in the 700 MHz spectrum as part of the transition will be auctioned to mobile network operators for mobile high-speed internet access.