Astra builds HD+ momentum
Published: 09.23 UTC, February 18, 2011 by Julian Clover

HD+, the SES-Astra backed platform for commercial HDTV in Germany, is making significant progress. According to the satellite company, as of the end of 2010 over 1.5 million HD+ smart cards had been delivered to equipment manufacturers. The crucial figures, of those actually purchased by consumers, show that more than 400,000 HD+ set-top boxes and 100,000 Common Interface modules have been sold.

In July 2010, one million cards were said to have been shipped.

Currently eight HD channels are available in the package, delivered from the well-established 19 degrees East orbital slot. Sat.1 HD, ProSieben HD and Kabel 1 HD, RTL HD, VOX HD, RTL II HD Sport1 HD and Sixx HD are all present.

Meanwhile, incremental capacity has been contracted for the German, French, Spanish and Dutch markets, met in part through the cessation of analogue German programming. As of January 1, 2011, 33 transponders were beaming German analogue stations over Europe. Analogue satellite transmissions are scheduled to finish at the end of April 2012 and nine of the transponders already have new customers assigned.

The departure of UPC Direct to Telenor’s One West slot at the end of December has freed up a further five transponders.

As a whole, SES SA today reported revenues of €1,735.7 million, an increase of 7.1%. Operating profit reached €797.4 million, a 10.8% increase.

Six satellites are scheduled for launch during 2011. In the second quarter, Astra 1N and SES-3 will deliver fleet replacement capacity for continuity of service in Europe and North America respectively.