The countdown has started: Swiss public broadcaster SRG SSR will switch off the SD versions of its TV channels for DTH satellite households on Eutelsat Hot Bird (13° East) and transmit the channels exclusively in HD quality from February 29, 2016.
After four years, the costly dual illumination will be terminated, SRG said in a statement. The move affects SRF 1, SRF zwei, RTS Un, RTS Deux, RSI LA1 and RSI LA2.
At the same time, SRG will add multimedia service SRF+ to its information channel SRF info HD on Hot Bird. Through the smart TV offering based on the HbbTV standard, viewers can access supplementary information accompanying the TV programmes.
SRG will also add all local Regionaljournal windows to its radio channel Radio SRF 1 for satellite households.
Following the SD switch-off, SRG’s channels will occupy the transponders 17 (11.526 GHz H, SR 29,700, FEC 2/3) and 123 (10.971 GHz H, SR 29,700, FEC 2/3). Transponder 85 (12.399 GHz H, SR 27,500, FEC 3/4) will no longer be required.
To continue receiving all programmes after February 29, 2016, satellite households will have to perform a channel search on their set-top-box or TV set with integrated DVB-S2 tuner.
With the exception of SRF info HD, all TV channels are encrypted for copyright reasons; smartcards are only issued to Swiss citizens living in Switzerland or abroad. The radio stations are unencrypted.
Around 10% of the households in the Alpine republic receive radio and TV channels via satellite. Since December 1, 2015, the affected satellite households have been made aware of the upcoming HD transition through a text caption on SRG’s SD channels. A website has also been set up to inform viewers.