Published: 08.04 Europe/London, April 11, 2011

Sky Deutschland satellite subscribers will be able to receive the HD+ bouquet of channels from this summer, the broadcaster has confirmed. At a stroke, this raises the number of HD channels available on Sky Deutschland to 25.

Subscribers will be able to have their current Sky smart card enabled to receive the eight private HD channels that are currently available on Astra’s HD+ platform, RTL HD, Vox HD, RTL 2 HD, Sat 1 HD, Pro Sieben HD, Kabel Eins HD, Sport 1 HD and Sixx HD. The ‘technical fee’ for the service is €50 per year.

“Through the agreement, we build the HD+ service for our customers on satellite and can now allow easy access to HD+ with some of the best free TV channel brands,” said Dr Holger Ensslin, head of legal, regulatory & distribution at Sky Deutschland. “We’re able to present a new dimension of high definition entertainment on Sky HD receivers. This underlines once again our HD leadership and our goal, the best offer for our customers”. Sky Deutschland currently has in the region of one million HD subscribers.

Ferdinand Kayser, president and CEO of SES Astra, said in a statement: ”Our cooperation with Sky significantly extends the technical reach of HD+ and adds another highly attractive target group with a strong affinity to premium programmes and high end technologies like HDTV. The cooperation with Sky and the increase of our technical reach underpin the high attractiveness of the HD+ offer for broadcasters and viewers, and confirm that our concept of a neutral technical platform available to all viewers and platforms is successful.”

An agreement between Sky Deutschland and SES Astra’s HD+ platform to make reception of the two services on a common smart card possible was already on the cards for some months, but seems now to become reality later this year.

From this summer Sky Deutschland will offer 12 HD channels, bringing the total German langauge channels in HD to 24, including the public channels ARD Das Erste HD, ZDF HD and Arte HD. On May 1, 2012, the German public broadcasters will switch on another four HD channels, the so-called third channels from Bayerischer Rundfunk (BR), Westdeutscher Rundfunk (WDR), Norddeutscher Rundfuns (NDR) and Südwestrundfunk (SWR).