German public broadcaster ARD wants to terminate the DTH satellite transmission of its TV channels in standard definition (SD) on Astra (19.2° East).
At consumer electronics fair IFA which commences in Berlin next week, ARD wants to launch an information campaign regarding SD switch-off, reports Berlin-based newspaper Tagesspiegel. In the campaign, ARD wants to explain why only HD channels will be distributed via satellite in future.
The share of HD households among the German DTH satellite community currently amounts to 65%. But there is no hurry for viewers: A switch-off date for SD signals has not been set, reports the paper.
The evaluations by public broadcasters ARD and ZDF for SD switch-off on satellite are prompted by public licence fee commission KEF which wants to cut the broadcaster’s budget for SD distribution to save costs.
The situation is different for the commercial broadcasters. In contrast to the public broadcasters, they don’t distribute their HD channels free-of-charge and unencrypted, but on the encrypted Astra platform HD+ offered to viewers for €70 per year.
While all HD satellite households receive the public channels, only around 17% have signed up for HD+. More than 80% rely on the free-of-charge, unencrypted SD versions of the commercial channels on Astra.
There is also a ruling by the Federal Cartel Office that the two large commercial broadcast groups Mediengruppe RTL Deutschland and ProSiebenSat.1 have to maintain their unencrypted SD satellite distribution until at least 2022.