The first months of 2012 showing a strong acceleration of the launching of new HD channels. From 274 at the end of 2009, the number of HD channels in Europe rose to 612 at the end of 2011 and 941 end of September 2012 (+54 per cent) according to the European Audiovisual Observatory
Among the different genres of HD channel available, sport, film and general channels make up the largest number of channels. The gap between sport and the other genres has increased dramatically in the last year. At the end of September 2012 there were 212 HD sport channels in Europe (up from 126 a year ago). The closest contender was films, which had 144 HD channels (up from 92 a year ago).
Satellite and digital cable are the most important platforms for the provision of HD channels. IPTV also provides a significant offer. Regarding digital terrestrial television, in October 2012 there were 116 HD channels available on DTT networks throughout Europe (free and pay), with the generalist public service and private channels being the most present on the free DTT networks.
Regarding the origin and licensing of HD channels, the UK (with 229) emerges as the most potent home of HD channels, followed by Germany (108) and France (95).
The UK is home to many families of channels including Discovery and National Geographic that target the rest of Europe, while BSkyB also offers a significant number of HD channels. France is home to a wide range of Eurosport channels targeting the rest of Europe and Sweden is the origin of the Viasat channels that target the Nordic states.