Astra HD+ boost for DT IPTV

A new agreement means Astra’s HD+ signals will be offered to DT’s IPTV clients. ‘Entertain Sat’ is Deutsche Telekom’s (DT) service which takes satellite signals from Astra, in particular HDTV transmissions from some of Germany’s leading broadcasters which are encoded in HD Plus.

Satellite viewers to HD+ have to buy a special HD+ decoder and pay a modest fee to receive the Nagra-encrypted signals. HD+ receivers have a hard drive with at least 500GB memory, and capable of storing and time-shifting programming.

This latest move is a major step forward for Astra, which originated the HD+ service, and Deutsch Telekom. DT says consumers with at least a 3 Mbit/s service will be able to receive HD+ channels from the likes of RTL HD, Vox HD, Pro7 HD, Sat1 HD and others.

Additionally, the current issue of German news magazine Der Spiegel quotes a Sky Deutschland spokesman saying that the News Corp-backed pay-TV broadcaster will also shortly confirm it is to carry HD+ programming. It is widely understood that SES Astra will sign an agreement with Sky Deutschland within the next two weeks. Such a deal would mean that German subscribers to Sky Deutschland would get Sky’s own exclusive HDTV programming, plus that transmitted in HD+ from Germany’s major commercial broadcasters.

Ferdinand Kayser, President/CEO of SES Astra, said: ”The cooperation with Deutsche Telekom demonstrates the strengths of satellite reception and the attractiveness of HD+. The combination of the broad and high quality DTH offer from Astra and HD+ with the additional interactive services from Deutsche Telekom creates an attractive media proposition.”

Christian P. Illek, Managing Director Marketing Telekom Deutschland, said: “Our Entertain service currently reaches about 20 million households in Germany. With our satellite offer, we will address new customer groups and convince even more customers of our TV offer. Astra`s technical reach of more than 16 million satellite households in Germany and the switch-off of the analogue satellite reception in April 2012 represent a particularly interesting and attractive potential for Entertain Sat.”

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