The Corona crisis has put a damper on Swiss public broadcaster SRG’s plan to move its satellite channels to the new HEVC/H.265 compression standard in 2021.
The switchover will be postponed until further notice, SRG announced, citing two reasons: On the one hand, this is done out of consideration for DTH satellite households, which therefore do not need any additional or new equipment. On the other hand, the Swiss electronic equipment industry has signalled that it is not yet ready, especially regarding set-top boxes.
In January 2020, SRG announced that it would switch the satellite broadcast of its TV channels on Eutelsat Hotbird (13° East) from MPEG-4/H.264 to the more efficient HEVC/H.265 compression standard in the course of next year in preparation for the introduction of Ultra HD (UHD). However, TV sets and receivers non-compliant with the new standard need to be replaced.
Meanwhile, SRG wants to bundle its channels on Hotbird on one transponder in future. A new generation of satellite playout devices offers greatly improved encoding quality and more efficient bandwidth usage, according to the broadcaster. Instead of the currently needed two transponders, one will then be sufficient.
As part of the move, all of SRG’s TV and radio channels will be relocated on transponder 123 at the beginning of 2021. Transponder 17, which is no longer required, will be switched off at the end of April 2021.
SRG now wants to go ahead with the transition to HEVC/H.265 in 2024. In order to ensure that the largest possible number of reception devices will then be on the market, the broadcaster is calling on all retailers to sell only HEVC/H.265-compatible TV sets and set-top boxes including HbbTV from now on.
The playout for distribution partners is not affected by the delay: Cable companies, IPTV platform operators and online providers will be able to obtain data streams in different quality and transmission rates directly from SRG via broadband lines from 2021. Once the corresponding negotiations have been concluded, an UHD event channel will be set up in this playout, enabling individual programmes produced in UHD to be delivered to distribution partners.