Published: 10.50 Europe/London, April 26, 2011

The three main German cable operators, Kabel Deutschland, Kabel BW and Unitymedia, have said in a joint statement that they are committed to analogue cable distribution and will not force their customers to go digital.

The announcement comes at the same time as the German public and private broadcasters and satellite operator Astra are starting the countdown to the analogue satellite switch-off on April 30, 2012. Under the motto “klar digital’ (clear digital), a promotiona campaign is designed to inform the viewers of the upcoming changes. A special website informs the viewers of all aspects of the analogue switch-off.

The German public and private broadcasters have decided to coordinate their switch-off in order to make the transition to digital as smooth as possible. The operation is a big challenge for Astra and the broadcasters, as there are still almost three million analogue satellite households in the country.

The German public broadcasters will use the freeed up capacity for the launch of a number of HD channels. On May 1, 2012, the German public broadcasters will switch on four new HD channels, the so-called third channels from Bayerischer Rundfunk (BR), Westdeutscher Rundfunk (WDR), Norddeutscher Rundfuns (NDR) and Südwestrundfunk (SWR).

Meanwhile, the cablers are taking the opportunity to sing the praise of “good old” analogue, which allows easy access to 30+ analogue channels on second and third TV sets in the home.