Jörn Krieger ©RapidTVNews | 07-09-2011

The national association of Germany's housing and real estate companies GdW has requested cable operators to distribute advertising-financed commercial TV channels without encryption on their digital networks.

"The current analogue free-to-air line-up has to remain available without additional fees on cable networks in digital," GdW präsident Axel Gedaschko said in Berlin. "Apart from this, a far-reaching forced addressability means the end of anonymous broadcast reception and is also questionable with regards to data privacy protection laws."

According to the "digitalisation report 2011", which was recently published by the media authorities, only 42.5% of the German cable households receive digital television despite the cable networks having been digitalised 100%. According to the association, one of the main reasons for cable customers' hesitation is the decision by many cable operators to encrypt commercial free-to-air TV channels and charge additional fees which would prevent many people from making the move to digital television.

GdW demands broadcasters and cable operators to voluntarily put an end to the encyption of digital TV channels which are available free-to-air in analogue, otherwise this practice would have to be prohibited by law. "There is no sensible reason to impose an encyption onto digital TV channels on cable networks which are available free-to-air via satellite to anyone," criticised Gedaschko. The encryption of these channels would also not be compliant with the principles of the federal media law, he added.

"Only the unencypted distribution of digital advertising-financed TV channels will increase the attractiveness of digital channels on cable," said Gedaschko. GdW also rejects the imposition of restrictive copyright protection measures and digital rights management systems with far-reaching impact onto peoples' privacy.