German public broadcaster ZDF will change its DTT distribution from the current DVB-T standard to successor DVB-T2.
The broadcaster’s administrative board approved the transition at its latest assembly in Mainz.
ZDF will transmit its complete channel family – ZDF, ZDFneo, ZDFinfo, 3sat and KiKA – unencrypted and free of charge in HD quality. The Full HD mode (1080p50) in combination with the new compression standard HEVC will be used for the first time.
“Through terrestrial distribution, the viewer will then be offered – compared with cable and satellite – the most modern, effective and high-quality TV signal which also contains plenty of upwards development potential,” ZDF’s production director Andreas Bereczky said in Mainz.
DVB-T2 will launch in May 2016 as the first step in several urban areas; ZDF will take part with its main channel ZDF HD. The regular DVB-T2 service with the full line-up of 40 to 45 channels – most of them in HD quality – will commence in spring 2017 initially in Germany’s urban areas. The transition to DVB-T2 is scheduled to be completed in mid-2019.
In addition to ZDF, the two commercial TV groups RTL and ProSiebenSat.1 have also opted for Full HD. Public broadcaster ARD is still evaluating its options.
While the public channels will be unencrypted on DVB-T2, RTL and ProSiebenSat.1 will broadcast their HD channels encrypted and charge viewers a subscription fee like on all other distribution platforms.
For reception, a DVB-T2/HEVC compliant TV set or set-top-box is required. The devices are already available from retailers. The currently used DVB-T receivers are not compatible.