RTL and Eutelsat launch DTT venture
Jörn Krieger

German commercial broadcaster RTL launched its DTT package in Stuttgart in conjunction with satellite operator Eutelsat on October 15. On board are the free-to-air channels RTL, VOX, RTL II and Super RTL as well as subscription services RTL Crime and Passion.

Residents of Stuttgart can now receive 19 instead of the previous 13 digital TV channels via antenna, including for the first time commercial television and pay-TV services. The package has a technical reach of 1.6 million households.

The bouquet, which is completely encrypted in *****, is marketed by service provider Eutelsat visAvision under the brand name Viseo+. The German subsidiary of satellite operator Eutelsat, which thereby expands into a new business field, is also responsible for encryption, smartcard activation and customer administration.

As the package will be broadcast in the improved compression technology MPEG4, DTT boxes currently on the market are not able to receive it. Viseo+ compatible set-top-boxes are available from €99 in retail stores in Stuttgart, including electronics chains EP, Euronics and Telering. The first manufacturers are DGStation and Topfield; negotiations are continuing with others.

A one year free subscription to the two pay-TV channels is included on the smartcards which come with the receivers, after which a subscription fee of €2.99 per month will be payable if viewers wish to continue receiving them. The four free-to-air channels are available at no charge.

In December RTL and Eutelsat will launch a DTT package using the Stuttgart model in the Leipzig/Halle region.