AFN to go HD in Europe

By Robert Briel

The American Forces Network is planning a switch to high definition broadcasting, according to Scott Stover, plans and policy officer for American Forces Radio and Television Service headquarters, reports the US army newspaper Stars and Stripes.

AFN, which serves the American forces in Europe with radio and TV broadcasts, has funding to switch over to high definition in fiscal 2012, and it is safe to say the transition will begin then, Stover said. The switch to digital and high definition is a lengthy and complicated process and involves replacing nearly 150,000 standard-definition-only receiver/decoders worldwide, he said.

Production of the older Cisco model D9835 satellite receiver/decoder was recently discontinued by the manufacturer to make way for the high-definition D9865, which will sell for $379 (€264), up from $289 (€201) for the discontinued receiver.

It is estimated that the new model will sell 30,000 decoders in the next three years based on historical trends in the army shops. It has sold 70,000 decoders in the past six years.