Germany’s second-largest cable operator Unitymedia will initiate analogue switch-off across its entire network on July 1, 2015.
With the move, the subsidiary of US media company Liberty Global reacts to the growing demand for digital TV services and creates room for further digital TV and HDTV channels.
For the expansion, Unitymedia will gradually decrease the analogue TV offering from July 1, 2015 in collaboration with the broadcasters and media authorities. In return, several unencrypted HD channels will be added in early July with further digital TV channels to follow in the forthcoming months.
The analogue TV channels to be removed include Sat.1 Gold, Astro TV and Bibel TV. Some analogue TV channels will in future share a slot to vacate capacity.
“The analogue world will come to an end, the future is digital. Digitalisation offers plenty of added value to consumers, cable operators, broadcasters and content providers such as, for example, a larger number of channels in crystal clear picture and sound quality and additional services like video-on-demand and an electronic programme guide,” Christian Hindennach, Unitymedia’s senior vice president for private customers, said in Cologne. “In the not too distant future, Unitymedia will distribute all TV channels solely in digital.”
All analogue TV channels currently offered by Unitymedia are already available in digital and unencrypted, thus analogue cable households just need a digital receiver or flat-screen TV set with inbuilt DVB-C tuner to make the transition.
According to the media authorities’ digitalisation report 2014, the share of digital TV households in Germany has risen to more than 84%. With a share of 62.9%, around two thirds of cable households receive digital TV. At Unitymedia, the share amounts to more than 70%, according to the company’s own figures.
Unitymedia wants to make the affected customers aware of the digital TV transition through an extensive information campaign. A dedicated website has also been set up carrying further information.
Liberty Global’s Swiss subsidiary UPC Cablecom will close down its analogue cable TV offering in mid-2015. The exact date for Unitymedia to make the move has not been fixed yet.