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Italian public broadcaster RAI is planning to launch HD versions of all of its channels by 2016 on the TivuSat DTH platform. Currently, four channels are available in HD: Rai Uno, Rai Due, Rai Tre and Rai Sport 1.
According to head of the satellite unit of RAI, Daniele Rascio, from January 2016, the Rai 4, Rai Movie and Rai Premium channels will get their HD versions.
For the 2016 Rio Olympic Games in August, RAI will dedicate at least three HD channels to the event (Rai 2 HD, Rai Sport 1 HD and Rai Sport 2 HD).
Although Rai Sport 2 HD will be a temporary channel, after Rio viewers will get four new HD channels: Rai 5 HD, Rai News 24 HD, Rai Yoyo HD and Rai Gulp HD channels.
Last but not least, RAI plans to introduce a UHD TV channel (using HEVC coding) by the end of 2016 or the beginning of 2017.
RAI has been conducting Ultra HD tests with Japan’s NHK and last year presented the first documentary in Ultra HD, together with Eutelsat.
According to local media reports, there has been an escalation of TivuSat smart-card activations in September, amounting to around 62,000 (compared to 22,000 in September 2014), and taking the total to over 2.5 million. This sudden growth in subscribers could be explained by Mediaset’s recent decision to encrypt its channels on satellite, but they still can be received by TivuSat viewers.