By: SES ASTRA
CanalSat is launching HD versions of three of the Canal+ channels already broadcasting in standard definition to subscribers in France. From October 12, Canal+ Cinéma, Canal+ Décalé and Canal+ Family will be offering films and general entertainment programmes in high definition, and bringing the number of HD channels available to CanalSat subscribers to 19 – including Arte, Brava, Canal+, Canal+ Sport, CineCinema Premiere, Discovery, Disney Cinemagic, Eurosport, France 2, M6, MTV, National Geographic, SyFy Universal, TF1, Ushaia, and 13eme Rue
At the end of October, ESPN America is launching an HD version of its US sports channel to subscribers of Sky Deutschland. ESPN America HD will show over 500 top US sports events including NFL American football, Major League Baseball and NHL ice hockey.
Both CanalSat and Sky Deutschland broadcast from the ASTRA satellites at 19.2°E.
From October 5, MTV Networks will launch the first HD version in Europe of children’s channel, Nickelodeon, for UK viewers. The new HD channel joins the MTVN HD and Comedy Central HD channels in the Sky UK pay-TV package and broadcasts from the ASTRA satellites at 28.2°E.
By: SES ASTRA
Speaking at a seminar organised by ASTRA at the IBC trade show in Amsterdam, Jaromir Glisnik, the CEO of TradeTec (Czech operators of the Skylink DTH platform) revealed that Skylink has now reached 1.2 million active viewing cards in circulation, an increase of 20% in five months.
Skylink provides a package of free-to-air and pay-TV channels, in both HD and standard definition, to the Czech Republic and Slovakia, from the ASTRA 3A and 3B satellites at 23.5°E.
Glisnik said that Skylink sold nearly 400,000 cards during 2009 and expected to exceed that number in 2010, with new viewers recently reaching 80,000 each month.
By: SES ASTRA
Canal+ Xtra is a new channel from the Digital Plus Spanish pay-TV platform that promises alternative programming not found on any other channel. Available in SD now, with an HD version coming soon, Canal+ Xtra features music, films, documentaries, entertainment and news, and broadcasts from ASTRA 1KR.
The iPlus high definition PVR receiver is being offered to Digital Plus subscribers to rent, for €5-€10 per month, instead of outright purchase, and existing subscribers to the basic tier programming packages are being tempted to stay loyal to the platform with upgrades to higher tier packages with additional channels, for free.
Digital Plus offers over 100 free and subscription channels to approximately 1.75 million Spanish subscribers from the ASTRA 19.2°E satellites.
With the launch of Living HD last week, Sky UK is set to reach its target of 50 HD channels by the year end. Living HD broadcasts from the ASTRA 2A satellite with a wide range of HD entertainment to Sky HD subscribers, including CSI, Grey’s Anatomy and Britain’s Next Top Model, and joins other recent HD channel launches, such as Good Food HD on ASTRA 2B. With Eden HD, ITV2 HD, ITV3 HD and ITV4 HD confirmed to launch in the coming months, the Sky HD channel portfolio will number 50 or more by Christmas.
Sky has also announced that nearly 430,000 viewers took up new subscriptions to the Sky HD service in April-June, to bring the total HD subscribers to over 3 million, or nearly a third of all Sky households.
SES ASTRA has announced a new initiative to support the introduction of 3D television in Europe. With the backing of the major European broadcasters, including public and private TV channels, and the consumer electronics industry, the initiative agrees the minimum technical specifications required for broadcasting and receiving 3D television.
In particular the agreement concerns the delivery of two different images (for the left and right eye) required to create a 3D stereoscopic experience. Initial 3D satellite transmissions will use either the side-by-side (for 1080i resolution) or top-bottom (for 720p resolution) formats, in which the two pictures are arranged either horizontally or vertically in one frame, to make the broadcasts compatible with HD receivers already in use in viewers’ homes.
Free-to-air 3D services will be signalled using mechanisms defined under an updated Digital Video Broadcasting (DVB) standard which will allow automatic switching of the display from 2D to 3D broadcasts and vice versa.
Ferdinand Kayser, President and CEO of SES ASTRA, said “As the leading satellite operator in Europe, we are very proud to be part of this development which will become the next driver for the consumer electronics market and ensure that broadcast TV will continue to be the main entertainment media."