EXCLUSIVE :Canal Digital in UPC Direct simulcrypt share

By Julian Clover
November 11, 2009 09.22 UK

EXCLUSIVE: UPC Direct will share channels with the Nordic satellite platform Canal Digital when it moves from Astra to the One West orbital slot early in 2010

The DTH operation has booked seven transponders in addition to the three already used at the position by sister company Focus Sat. On Astra, UPC Direct has been using the simulcrypt system to share channels with other platform operators on the same satellite, most notably the Dutch Canal Digitaal. It therefore follows that a similar arrangement on One West might be beneficial and who better to work with than Telenor’s own platform Canal Digital.

“We see now that Canal Digital and UPC Direct can share capacity. We think that ten plus channels can share the same signal and that means Canal Digital can get a better price from Cato [Halsa] and his team, leaving more capacity for other players,” explained Christian Albech, CEO of Telenor Broadcast Holding, in an exclusive interview. “This is much more than only having them on One degree West because we really can co-operate.”

On Astra the UPC Direct channels currently typically run both Irdeto Cryptoworks and Nagravision conditional access, while Canal Digital uses Conax. The bandwidth saved by avoiding channel duplication more than outweighs the additional space needed for the CA data.

UPC Direct’s Magnus Ternsjo said discussions were already underway as to which channels might be shared between the two operators. Likely candidates would be those that broadcast international feeds with little or no localisation. These might include Eurosport, where an additional audio track could be added, or MTV that largely broadcasts in English.