ARD and ZDF to launch new HD channels

Jörn Krieger

Germany’s public TV broadcasters ARD and ZDF want to increase their number of HD channels.

In around three years’ time, some regional channels, such as “Dritte Programme”, by ARD’s regional affiliates and cultural channel 3sat could be offered in high-definition via satellite.

“ARD and ZDF are currently working on a framework contract with SES Astra for the expansion of our satellite transponder capacities. This will be signed soon,” Herbert Tillmann, director of productions and technology at ARD’s Bavarian affiliate BR, told German industry magazine Medien Bulletin.

“We have concluded that it makes sense to offer further public channels in HD quality in two to four years,” explained Tillmann, adding that, for example, ZDF wants to offer 3sat in HD. “For ARD, however, secondary channels such as EinsPlus or EinsExtra are not first priority for HD transmission. For us it is more important to offer viewers at least the large regional channels in high-definition in addition to our main channel.”

BR will probably commence offering its regional channel Bayerisches Fernsehen in HD from 2013/14, said Tillmann. It currently remains unclear which of ARD’s other regional affiliates will join BR. “It will probably be NDR, MDR and WDR which already has its own HD transponder and uses it for example for HD test transmissions of EinsFestival,” said Tillmann.

The public broadcasters currently provide their viewers with HD versions of ARD’s main channel Das Erste, ZDF’s main channel and European cultural channel ARTE.