Daily breaking news

βœ‡ Broadband TV News: Satellite

Antik Sat upgrades HD offer

By Chris Dziadul β€” February 15th 2019 at 09:54

The Slovak DTH platform Antik Sat has added 12 HD channels to its offer, which now has 38 in the format.

According to Parabola, all 12 channels – Doma HD, Joj Plus HD, TA3 HD, Wau HD, Lux HD, AMC HD, Sport 1 HD, Barrandov HD, CT24 HD, CT2 HD, Prima Cool HD and Prima Zoom HD – were previously available only in SD.

It adds that the channels, which use MPEG-4 compression, are shared with Orange TV.

However, the two platforms employ different conditional access systems, with Antik Sat opting for Conax and Orange TV favouring Irdeto.

Only one of the 12 HD channels (CT24 HD) is broadcast unencrypted.

βœ‡ Broadband TV News: Satellite

Afghanistan Broadcasting System launches DTH platform on Eutelsat

By Robert Briel β€” February 14th 2019 at 22:32

Eutelsat Communications and Afghanistan Broadcasting System (ABS) have signed a multi-year, multi-transponder contract for video capacity on the Eutelsat 53A satellite.

ABS will use Eutelsat 53A’s Ku-band resources over Central Asia to provide nationwide coverage for the launch of its new DTH platform, Oqaab HD+. This platform will carry a mix of national and premium international channels. The capacity will also enable ABS to extend its DTT network from Kabul to all other Afghan provinces by feeding DTT network head-ends.

Andi Wilmers, ABS’s COO said: “With our new teleport in Kabul, we provide better signal quality for the local broadcasters across Afghanistan at compelling terms. Eutelsat’s resources over Afghanistan provide the needed signal strength so that people can receive all channels, even with a 45-cm satellite dish antenna. In 2019 we will offer enhanced services like Video on Demand (VOD) and other products to customers across the country.”

Michel Azibert, Eutelsat’s Chief Commercial and Development Director, added: “We are delighted to be supporting Afghanistan Broadcasting System in enriching the country’s TV landscape. This contract consolidates our presence in Afghanistan, where we have been present since 2014 in partnership with the Ministry of Communications in the data field. It also highlights the ability of satellite to deliver immediate

βœ‡ Broadband TV News: Satellite

Eutelsat signs two deals with Ethiopian broadcasters

By Robert Briel β€” February 12th 2019 at 10:54

Eutelsat Communications has signed simultaneous multi-year contracts with the Ethiopian Broadcasting Corporation and the Association of Ethiopian Broadcasters for video capacity on its Eutelsat 8 West B satellite.

The aggregate of these contracts represents multi-transponder capacity, including incremental resources.

Leveraging Eutelsat 8 West B satellite’s dedicated coverage of Ethiopia, both media groups will enjoy nationwide coverage for their free-to-air DTH platforms, representing a total of 30 channels. Introduced to the local market back in 2012, Eutelsat’s 7/8° West orbital position will now broadcast the vast majority of Ethiopia’s channels thanks to these new agreements.

A longstanding client of Eutelsat on the Hotbird position, the Ethiopian Broadcasting Corporation (EBC) is the country’s oldest and largest free-to-air broadcaster. Programming features news, sport, music and other entertainment, broadcast predominantly in Amharic,the official working language of the federal government. The Association of Ethiopian Broadcasters (AEB), established in September 2018, is a group of privately owned, licensed broadcasters operating in Ethiopia. Members include Ethiopian Broadcasting Service (EBS), Fana TV, Walta, Kana TV, Arts, Nahoo TV, Afrihealth, OBS, LTV, Ahadu, DWTV, Asham TV and Balageru.

Michel Azibert, Eutelsat’s Chief Commercial and Development Director, said: “We are proud to be working with leading broadcasters Ethiopian Broadcasting Corporation and the Association of Ethiopian Broadcasters in enriching the FTA experience for viewers across Ethiopia. These agreements also highlight the strength of Eutelsat’s 7/8° West orbital position. ”

“We are delighted to be working with an industry leader such as Eutelsat as part of our expansion into the untapped broadcasting public sphere within our territory and beyond,” said Messay Hurissa, EBC’s CTO.

“This partnership will allow EBC’s customers to benefit from a much better performance with high quality broadcasting and customer support.”

“Satellite technology plays a key role in reaching TV households across Ethiopia. One of AEB’s goals is to increase and strengthen the number of TV households in our country,” added Anman Fissehazion, CEO of AEB.

“This goal can be reached if all broadcasters operate from a common orbital position to reach their audiences, such as 7/8° West. Today’s signing is a major step in this venture and I am sure that our contract with Eutelsat will lead us to many more successes to better serve our viewers.”

βœ‡ Broadband TV News: Satellite

Successful launch for Hellas Sat 4

By Chris Dziadul β€” February 8th 2019 at 11:27

Hellas Sat 4 has been successfully launched by an Ariane 5 launch vehicle from the Guiana Space Center in Kourou, French Guiana.

A ku-band satellite, it will be positioned at 39 degrees and cover Europe, the Middle East and Southern Africa, with its service expected to commence in Q3 this year.

Hellas 4 will serve as a back up to Hellas 3, which is located at the same orbital slot and was launched in 2017.

Commenting on the launch, Christodoulos Protopapas, CEO of Hellas Sat, said: “Hellas Sat 4 is a powerful addition to our network and a major milestone to our business plan. It brings new capacity that will enable our existing and new customers to unlock new growth opportunities in applications including broadcasting, mobility and private data networks. Moreover, it will enable us to deliver high quality services at competitive prices as well as unmatched performance, resiliency and redundancy to our customers.”

βœ‡ Broadband TV News: Satellite

Ariane 5 delivers two telecom satellites

By Robert Briel β€” February 6th 2019 at 08:49

Arianespace has successfully orbited a pair of telecommunications spacecraft – Saudi Geostationary Satellite 1/Hellas Sat 4 (HS-4/SGS-1) and GSAT-31.

Today’s flight to geostationary orbit, performed from the Spaceport in French Guiana, delivered a payload lift performance estimated at 10,018 kg. – which included the two spacecraft, along with the dispenser system and integration hardware in Ariane 5’s dual-passenger configuration.

Arianespace CEO Stéphane Israël confirmed the success in post-launch comments from the Spaceport’s Jupiter control room. “For the first Ariane 5 launch of the year, our heavyweight vehicle has once more performed flawlessly,” he said. “Congratulations to all!”

Deployed first in the flight sequence 27 minutes after liftoff, HS-4/SGS-1 is a geostationary “condosat” for Saudi Arabia’s King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology (KACST) and Greek-Cypriot satellite operator Hellas Sat, an Arabsat subsidiary. Designed, assembled and integrated by Lockheed Martin Space, HS-4/SGS-1 will operate from an orbital position of 39 deg. East, with a coverage area that includes Europe, South Africa and the Middle East.

The Arianespace CEO acknowledged the direct customer for HS-4/SGS-1, Arabsat, and called this 11th Arianespace mission at the service of the Riyadh, Saudi Arabia-based telecommunications operator a “new bright success.”

The Saudi Geostationary Satellite 1 communications payload will provide advanced Ka-band spot beam communications services for KACST, a government organization responsible for promoting science and technology in Saudi Arabia. The Hellas Sat 4 communications payload will deliver advanced Ku-band regional beam communications services for the Arabsat subsidiary.

GSAT-31 was carried in Ariane 5’s lower payload position and released second in the sequence for today’s mission, which is designated Flight VA247 in Arianespace’s numbering system – representing the 247th launch of an Ariane-series launch vehicle.

The spacecraft was designed and manufactured by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) and will provide Ku-band communications services from an orbital slot at 48 deg. East, helping “bridge the digital divide” with coverage across the Indian subcontinent.

Israël noted that GSAT-31 was the 23rd ISRO satellite orbited by Arianespace and Ariane-series launchers, tracing the relationship back to India’s APPLE small experimental communications spacecraft, lofted in 1981 by an Ariane 1 version. He added: “Arianespace is honored ISRO has entrusted Ariane 5 for two launches back-to-back, with the last Ariane 5 of 2018 launching GSAT-11, and today the first one of the year 2019, which orbited GSAT-31!”

βœ‡ Broadband TV News: Satellite

Discovery stays with MX1 in Germany

By JΓΆrn Krieger β€” February 5th 2019 at 10:30

Discovery Deutschland has extended its partnership with MX1 for fully managed playout and content management services.

Under the terms of the contract renewal, the technical services subsidiary of Astra satellite operator SES will continue to fully manage playout and media asset management tasks for Discovery Deutschland’s SD and HD channels. They include TLC, DMAX, Animal Planet, Discovery Channel and Shop 300 in Germany as well as DMAX Austria in SD.

Additionally, since January 1, 2019, a new channel, TLC Austria, is now distributed over the Astra 1N satellite at 19.2° East, reaching over 118 million TV homes across Europe.

Discovery Deutschland is using MX1 360, a unified media platform, to manage and deliver all linear and non-linear content. Once the ready-to-air programme files are delivered by Discovery, MX1 360 brings together the full range of media services, enabling the broadcaster to manage and deliver their content from a single interface to any broadcast platform.

βœ‡ Broadband TV News: Satellite

SES promotes John Baugn, strengthens leadership team

By Chris Dziadul β€” February 5th 2019 at 09:59

John Baughn, formerly executive VP Global Services at SES Networks, is appointed to the newly created position of chief services officer (CSO).

The position consolidates all customer support and operational delivery, logistics and services related resources across the video and data businesses. It unifies functions across the organisation into a single team charged with delivering exceptional services to its customers.

At the same time, SES has announced Ruy Pinto as the successor to Martin Halliwell as CTO. Pinto, formerly deputy CTO and chief information officer of SES, will lead SES’s global technology organisation including all technology functions currently within the business units and will also retain the leadership of SES’s IT and digital transformation activities. Halliwell will remain part of the senior leadership team and serve as a strategic advisor to the CEO until his planned retirement in May 2019.

Commenting on the strengthening of the leadership team, Steve Collar, president and CEO of SES, said: “I am delighted to bring together our engineering talent and responsibility for our customer services under such strong and experienced leaders. As the demands of our markets evolve, these two teams, configured to serve our customers across both business units, will ensure that we stay ahead.

“Unifying the technical team and creating a consistent customer facing organisation will allow us to offer world class customer experiences around the world, strengthen our focus on successful end-to-end delivery and place business success for our customers at the centre of our focus.”

He added: “I would also like to thank Martin for his enormous contribution to the success of SES for over 30 years. Martin is a true pioneer who was responsible for so many ‘firsts’ for SES, for so much that we have achieved in space and I cannot thank him enough for his leadership, dedication, innovation and achievement as our CTO. Martin’s new mission is retirement and we wish him every success in that endeavour!”

βœ‡ Broadband TV News: Satellite

Payload integration complete for Ariane February 5 flight

By Robert Briel β€” January 31st 2019 at 22:14

The Ariane 5 for Arianespace’s upcoming mission from the Spaceport in French Guiana is now fully-assembled following integration of its two passengers.

Saudi Geostationary Satellite 1/Hellas Sat 4 (HS-4/SGS-1) and GSAT-31 – both of which will be delivered to geostationary orbit on a flight scheduled for February 5.

Encapsulated in an ogive-shaped protective fairing, HS-4/SGS-1 has been positioned atop its GSAT-31 co-passenger – which was installed on the launcher’s cryogenic core stage during previous activity inside the Spaceport’s Final Assembly Building for Ariane 5.

These successive integration steps enable a new series of preparation milestones to begin. They include the launch readiness review, which will be followed by Ariane 5’s February 4 rollout to the ELA-3 launch zone.

Liftoff is scheduled during a 61-min. launch window that opens February 5 at 6:01 p.m. local time in French Guiana, with the two spacecraft to be deployed on a flight lasting 42 minutes. Ariane 5 will deliver a total payload lift performance of more than 10,050 kg. during the mission.

Next week’s launch is designated Flight VA247, marking the 247th using an Ariane family vehicle since this European series of launchers entered service in 1979. It kicks off another busy year of activity for Arianespace, which has the objective of performing as many as 12 missions during 2019 with its full launcher family – consisting of the heavy-lift Ariane 5, medium-lift Soyuz and lightweight Vega.

Saudi Geostationary Satellite 1/Hellas Sat 4 – to be deployed from Ariane 5’s upper payload slot – is a geostationary “condosat” for Saudi Arabia’s King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology (KACST) and Greek-Cypriot satellite operator Hellas Sat. It was designed, assembled and integrated by Lockheed Martin Space, with a coverage area that includes Europe, South Africa and the Middle East.

The Saudi Geostationary Satellite 1 communications payload will provide advanced Ka-band spot beam communications services for KACST, a government organization responsible for promoting science and technology in Saudi Arabia. The Hellas Sat 4 communications payload will deliver advanced Ku-band regional beam communications services for the Arabsat subsidiary.

Riding in Ariane 5’s lower payload position, GSAT-31 – which was designed and manufactured by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) – will provide Ku-band communications services from geostationary orbit, helping bridge the “digital divide” with coverage across the Indian subcontinent.

βœ‡ Broadband TV News: Satellite

Digiturk selects Unified Streaming for streaming platform

By Robert Briel β€” January 29th 2019 at 16:15

Turkey’s satellite TV provider Digiturk has chosen Unified Streaming to support its newly consolidated video-streaming environment.

Unified Streaming software plugin Unified Origin will enable Digiturk to deliver a seamless viewer experience to its millions of subscribers in Turkey and across the Turkish diaspora. Unified Origin fulfills all of Digiturk’s requirements to establish a future-proof streaming platform. Features will include support of a multi-CDN and multi-DRM strategy and the integration of an efficient, user-friendly nPVR.

Founded in 1999, Digiturk has been a forerunner in streaming live sports events – the company holds the broadcasting rights for Turkey’s premier professional football league Süper Lig. It has also pioneered the introduction of HD, 3D and 4K technologies into the country. Today a subsidiary of Qatari network beIN Media Group, Digiturk offers a multi-genre array of national and self-branded video and audio channels.

“Our ambition has always been to give audiences the best user experience, no matter where they are in the world. Incorporating Unified Streaming’s flexible technology for all our channels means we can meet our viewers expectations said Hatice Memigüven, CTO of Digiturk.

“We are excited to partner with Digiturk. As they prepare for the future of online video streaming, our scalable products and tailored solutions will help keep the company agile and able to evolve,” said Simon Westbroek, VP of Global Sales at Unified Streaming.

βœ‡ Broadband TV News: Satellite

Globecast names Renaud Presty as Director of Security

By Robert Briel β€” January 28th 2019 at 10:16

Globecast has appointed Renaud Presty as its new Director of Security, effective immediately.

In this role, Presty is handling all cybersecurity and content protection-related issues including: IT security, certification, rules of use, information and awareness, and the security of Globecast’s installations and services.

Philippe Bernard, CEO of Globecast commented, “Never has cybersecurity and related content protection been such a priority, particularly with the ongoing move to virtualized technologies and increased use of the cloud. Renaud joins Globecast at a crucial time in our industry. We take all security issues very seriously at Globecast, and we know Renaud’s skills and expertise will further enhance our capabilities.”

Presty has 25 years’ experience in the security industry. He joins Globecast from Viaccess Orca, a subsidiary of the Orange Group, where he was Security Director and handled all aspects of security including IT/network cybersecurity, crisis management and anti-piracy programs. Prior to this he was the Security Consulting Director at Trusted Labs where he managed a team of security experts and consultants for premium customers in the banking, transport, and semiconductor industries.

Presty said, “It’s great to be joining Globecast at this important time. With the increase in new forms of video piracy and content redistribution threats, associated with the ongoing transformation of the industry, it’s vital that information and infrastructure security programs are carefully evaluated and reinforced. The threat model continues to evolve with the ongoing introduction of internet-based services and the multiplicity of interconnections.”

βœ‡ Broadband TV News: Satellite

Vivacom makes satellite switch

By Chris Dziadul β€” January 22nd 2019 at 10:15

Subscribers to the Bulgarian incumbent Vivacom’s satellite TV service can shortly expect to see an improvement in signal quality.

According to the company, this will be due to a switch to a new satellite that will be undertaken in two stages, with the planned move taking place in the nights of January 24th to 25th and January 31st to February 1st.

Vivacom adds that it will be transferring its services to Intelsat’s IS-38, which was presented in September 2018 and subsequently launched and passed a number of tests.

Not only will the new satellite provide better signal quality for TV channels but also better territorial coverage.

βœ‡ Broadband TV News: Satellite

Hispasat and Media Broadcast Satellite to distribute FunBox UHD in EMEA

By Robert Briel β€” January 22nd 2019 at 08:27

Hispasat and Media Broadcast Satellite have reached an agreement on a deal with an initial duration of five years to distribute FunBox UHD, in Europe, the Middle East and North Africa.

The channel, which belongs to the content provider SPI International, is a thematic channel about nature, travel and adventure, art music, culture and lifestyle.

The broadcast combines Media Broadcast Satellite’s teleport capacities in Usingen (Germany) with Hispasat’s 30W-5 satellite (H30W-5).

Hispasat has supported the development and implementation of Ultra-High-Definition technology in order to make it available as soon as possible for cinema and television viewers. The company was the first satellite operator to make an Ultra-High-Definition broadcast in Latin America through the Hispasat 30W-3 satellite. Since September 2013, the company has provided open-access broadcast of the Hispasat 4K channel in Europe, made available to the industry to encourage the use of this technology.

βœ‡ Broadband TV News: Satellite

Intelsat’s CFO Jacques Kerrest to retire

By Robert Briel β€” January 15th 2019 at 13:17

Intelsat announced that its CFO, Jacques Kerrest, plans to retire.

He will continue in his role through the spring until a successor is appointed to ensure a smooth transition of duties.

Since joining Intelsat in February 2016, Kerrest played an instrumental role in successfully completing $15.5 billion in debt and equity transactions, achieving an improved capital structure for the company.

“On behalf of the company and the management team, I’d like to thank Jacques for his leadership and many contributions during his tenure,” said Stephen Spengler, Chief Executive Officer.

“Jacques’ expertise in capital markets and strategic engagement with debt and equity investors enhanced Intelsat’s position as a respected issuer. One result of his contributions, our improved capital structure, provides us the flexibility that positions us to execute our business strategies. We wish Jacques well as he pursues his personal goals during his well-earned retirement.”

The company is retaining an executive search firm to lead the search for his replacement.

βœ‡ Broadband TV News: Satellite

HD Austria adds four pay-TV channels

By JΓΆrn Krieger β€” January 15th 2019 at 10:44

Austrian DTH satellite platform HD Austria offers its customers four new channels: BonGusto, Heimatkanal, Playboy TV and Romance TV.

The additions are part of the hybrid offering, which reaches TV screens through the internet. The channels can be received via the HD Austria Kombi package with the HD Austria satellite receiver (MZ-101) or recorder (MP-201), the HD Austria Now app for smart TV sets, smartphones, tablets and laptops or the web player via the internet.

The new channels appear automatically in the channel list, a search is not necessary.

βœ‡ Broadband TV News: Satellite

My-HD DTH extends SPI International deal

By Robert Briel β€” January 11th 2019 at 08:07

My-HD-Pay TV platform in the MENA region will carry SPI International’s channels for another three years.

“SPI International and My-HD have been working together for three years and it is my pleasure to announce that we have renewed our channel distribution partnership in the MENA region until 2022,” said Murat Muratoglu (pictured), Head of Distribution for Middle East, Ex-Yugo, Baltic States, Bulgaria, Greece, India, Turkey, CIS Countries, APAC at SPI International.

Karam Hamad, Chief Sales and Marketing Officer of My-HD added “this great partnership with SPI International has proven itself beneficial to My-HD subscribers. It is a privilege to have FilmBox, DocuBox, Fast&FunBox, FightBox and Gametoon on the My-HD platform. We are confident that the evolving programming of the channels will reward our multi-cultural viewers across the Middle East and North Africa with an even better Pay TV viewing experience.”

βœ‡ Broadband TV News: Satellite

BFBS to reach UK troops in remote regions via SES

By Robert Briel β€” January 10th 2019 at 17:13

The British Forces Broadcasting Service (BFBS) has signed a new multi-year agreement with SES satellites.

As a result greater numbers of British forces and their families stationed abroad, including Royal Navy ships at sea, will receive a range of British TV and radio programming.

The increased capacity will enable BFBS to continue to deliver British entertainment and sporting content across the globe, from Canada in the north-west and Falkland Islands in the south, across Europe and Africa and all the way to Brunei in the Far East. The service is an important part of making British forces and their families feel a little closer to home during deployments.

BFBS’s mix of news, sport and entertainment programming will be delivered via SES’s NSS-12 and SES-6 satellites. BFBS operates as part of SSVC (Services Sound and Vision Corporation), a not-for-profit charity, under a ten-year contract with the UK Ministry of Defence to supply welfare by radio and TV worldwide.

“Bringing the best of British TV and Radio to our armed services around the world has an incredibly positive impact on their morale and welfare, especially when they are separated from loved ones and home life for months on end,” said Ryan Lambert, CTO, BFBS.

“It’s great that we can now deliver more content and more channels than ever before to our forces posted around the globe via SES.”

“Our partnership with SSVC spans many years,” said Ferdinand Kayser, CEO of SES Video.

“This newest agreement extends our ability to improve the lives of British Forces by bringing them more of the creature comforts of home – wherever they are stationed, including ships in the South China Sea and Eastern Pacific. We feel privileged that we can help to improve the health and well-being of service personnel and their families through the unmatched reach and reliability of our global fleet, together with the unbeatable radio and television content available from BFBS.”

βœ‡ Broadband TV News: Satellite

DMAX UK to drop encryption, replaces Travel Channel

By Robert Briel β€” January 10th 2019 at 17:05

Discovery is launching DMAX as a free to air channel in the UK from January 16, replacing The Travel Channel.

“We’re incredibly excited to launch DMAX on free to air in the UK as a destination for male audiences who want to live life to the max and indulge their passions in a fun environment created especially for them,” said Simon Downing, SVP, Head of Factual and Sport.

“Its launch strengthens and diversifies our free to air portfolio in the UK, allowing us to engage more audiences than ever before with compelling real-life entertainment.”

DMAX replaces Discovery’s Travel Channel on free to air, which remains on pay TV. It is the latest addition to Discovery’s free to air portfolio in the UK, which includes Discovery’s male skewing channel Quest which launched in 2009 and is now the 13th biggest channel for men in the UK. As well as female skewing channels Food Network and Quest Red, which launched in 2017.

The UK launch follows a decade of investment in DMAX as a free to air channel across EMEA by Discovery. It is available free to air in Germany, Italy, Austria, Switzerland and Spain. DMAX has been operated by Discovery in the UK as a pay-TV channel since 2008.

NIOTE – DMAX launches January 16 on Freeview 42 and Freesat 150 and is available on Sky 178 and Virgin 213.

βœ‡ Broadband TV News: Satellite

CIS HD first for Globecast

By Chris Dziadul β€” January 10th 2019 at 10:08

Globecast has been selected by the National State TV and Radio Company of the Republic of Belarus to launch an HD version of its international satellite channel Belarus 24.

In a release, Globecast says that the channel, distributed as a FTA service on Eutelsat’s Hotbird, made its debut at the beginning of last month, with the SD version continued until January 1, 2019. The significance is that the launch on Hotbird is the first of a HD channel from a CIS country.

As previously reported by Broadband TV News, plans by the Belarusian broadcaster to switch its channels to HD were first announced last year.

Commenting on the development, Aleksandr Martynenko, general director at Belarus 24, said: “We have a high trust relationship with Globecast, much like they do with Eutelsat. Given the success and reach of Belarus 24 in SD since 2005, we felt it was time for us to deliver this important content in HD so that we can bring a significantly enhanced viewing experience to our customers. We are very happy with our choice of Globecast and Eutelsat as the project has gone exceptionally smoothly”.

Biliana Pumpalovic, general director at Globecast Moscow, added: “Belarus 24 has been an important customer of ours for almost a decade, and we feel privileged that they came to us with this key upgrade in their distribution development. We’ve worked closely with them, both technically and commercially, to bring the HD version of Belarus 24 to millions of viewers across Europe”.

βœ‡ Broadband TV News: Satellite

ARD to offer full TV package in HD on Astra

By JΓΆrn Krieger β€” January 2nd 2019 at 13:12

German public broadcaster ARD will transmit its complete TV channel portfolio in HD quality for DTH satellite households via Astra (19.2° East) from January 7, 2019.

The last two missing channels ARD-alpha HD and Radio Bremen TV HD will be added to the line-up on 10.00 CET. The two channels were previously only offered on SD resolution.

Initially, the signals will be up-converted to HD resolution. From February 2019, regional channel Radio Bremen TV will be available in native HD quality; educational channel ARD-alpha is to follow during the course of the year.

The two new HD channels will be broadcast unencrypted on transponder 39 (11.053 GHz H, SR 22,000, FEC 2/3). For reception, viewers are recommended to perform a channel search on their TV set or set-top box.

ARD-alpha HD and Radio Bremen TV HD are also available to cable operators for carriage. The two largest cable companies Vodafone and Unitymedia will distribute both channels from the end of January 2019.

HDTV reception is widespread among German viewers: According to the Digitisation Report 2018, around 31 million households have an HD-capable TV set. Of the 17.4 million DTH satellite households, around 80% own an HD TV set.

βœ‡ Broadband TV News: Satellite

M7 Group to buy UPC DTH operations

By Robert Briel β€” December 21st 2018 at 09:01

M7 Group has reached an agreement to buy the DTH satellite TV operations from Liberty Global currently serving four Central and Eastern European markets.

Liberty Global will sell its DTH operations for a total enterprise value of approximately €180 million ($205 million) on a U.S. GAAP basis, subject to customary debt and working capital adjustments at completion.

Closing of the transaction is subject to regulatory approval, which is expected in the first half of 2019. Liberty Global said the proceeds from the sale are expected to be used for general corporate purposes.

Currently the Liberty Global DTH business serves about 800,000 customers in Hungary under the brand UPC Direct, in the Czech Republic and Slovakia under the brand freeSAT, and in Romania under the brand FocusSat. This acquisition will enable M7 Group to gain further scale and increase its top line by circa 30% post transaction.

“This is a very logical acquisition for us, allowing us to consolidate the satellite TV activities of Skylink in the Czech and Slovak markets, while further diversifying our European footprint into two new markets,” said Hans Troelstra, CEO of M7 Group.

“In addition, we will be able to roll out our hybrid satellite and OTT TV platform in those two new markets. In our existing markets the OTT platform is already used by about 15-20% of the base.”

Broadband TV News notes that Liberty Global’s DTH operations in the region date back to 2000. The company is currently in the process of selling its UPC cable assets in the Czech Republic, Hungary and Romania to Vodafone and following this transaction its only remaining ones will be in Poland and Slovakia. Up until now, M7 Group’s only presence in the region has been through the Skylink operation in the Czech Republic and Slovakia.