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Global media service provider MX1 has signed a multi-year contract and is assisting pay-TV broadcaster Sky in taking its first steps into free-to-air TV. Starting from December 1st – and for the first time – the broadcaster’s sports-related news channel, Sky Sport News, will be available free-to-air via the Astra satellite.
MX1 was chosen to deliver the technological services to make this happen, including uplink, signal encoding, and transmission of the SD channel via Astra 19.2° East. Sky Sport News is being transmitted in HD MPEG-4 and SD MPEG-2, with the broadcaster purchasing additional Astra capacity to carry the SD signal. The HD signal will be aired without encoding via existing capacities. Astra also provides signals to a range of cable networks, increasing reach even further.
“We are very pleased to seal the deal with Sky,” commented Christoph Mühleib, Vice President Sales and Marketing DACH (Germany, Austria and Switzerland) at SES. “The free reception of Sky Sport News in HD as well as in SD is, considering the current state of German households, a ground-breaking decision as SD-MPEG-2 standard TV is still of great importance in Germany. By activating both signals, we have the opportunity to reach every household in Germany and Austria which receives their TV signal via satellite.”
“Starting in December, Sky Sport News HD, the very first and only 24-hour sports-related news channel on German TV will reach even more viewers via satellite, cable and IPTV,” noted Stefan Kunz, Vice President Broadcast Services at Sky Germany. “Launching its first free-to-air TV channel is an important step for Sky Germany, which we want to take along with our long-time service provider of satellite distribution, MX1.”