MBC moves closer to HD bouquet

Rebecca Hawkes | 07-03-2011

Pan Arab satellite broadcaster MBC has engaged Technosat to provide set-top boxes for customers of its forthcoming high definition (HD) channel bouquet, according to Broadcast Pro Middle East.

The non-exclusive satellite HD offer will be launched by MBC later this year, according to the report, once technical difficulties have been erased and platform deals have been agreed.

Although the HD service will, like MBC’s other satellite channels, be free-to-air, the broadcaster says that some Hollywood studios require their HD content to be encrypted – hence the need for set top boxes to decrypt the signal.

“The channels will be HD versions of current MBC channels that will benefit most from HD broadcast,” Mazen Hayek, MBC’s official spokesperson and group director of PR and commercial, told the magazine.

“Some of the US studios who supply our Western content insist that HD content is encrypted. Therefore, we shall be encrypting the signal and people will need to have a certain type of box or card to decrypt the signal,” Mr Hayek added. “However, once they have this box or card – a one-time purchase – our HD channels will be totally open and free.”