This Friday (July 27th) SES will unveil its latest financial numbers, but ahead of those figures, it says that it is now leading its rivals in terms of HDTV deployment, and is carrying more than 1,300 high-def channels. They comprise more than 25 per cent of the 5200 channels carried by the SES fleet.
As SES coyly puts it, “that’s more HD channels than our two main competitors”. SES does admit that its USA fleet is carrying more than 838 (out of 920) high-def channels and that’s thanks to its relationship with EchoStar and its ‘local-into-local’ HD services. Of the rest, some 297 channels are in Europe, and 105 are in Asia/Mid-East and Africa.
By any measure this is an impressive increase in HD channels. Even eliminating the EchoStar channels, it means that high-def broadcasting has expanded massively in the past three or four years. But there’s also a long way to go. SES says it is carrying 28 per cent of the more than 4,700 high-def channels being carried worldwide. In other words that just leaves around 26,000 channels worldwide still to be converted!
This should cheer every vendor and salesman at the upcoming IBC. Add in the prospects down the line a few years of an MPEG4-based Ultra-HDTV system coming into use and the prospects for the industry are impressive.