Most German satellite homes watch digital
By Robert Briel

Just a few thousand German satellite TV homes have failed to buy digital reception equipment and might face a black screen this Monday, according to high-tech association BITKOM.

On Monday, April 30, all German analogue broadcasts on the Astra satellite positioned at 19.2 degrees East will stop at 3 o’clock in the morning.
“An overwhelming majority of affected households have responded to the shutdown of the analogue TV signal,” said Ralph Haupter, a member of the BITKOM bureau. “The extensive information campaigns from satellite operators, equipment manufacturers and television stations have been successful.”

Sales figures for digital satellite receivers and televisions with built-in satellite tuners, have recently soared. In the months January till April about 1.9 million digital satellite receivers were sold, which represents almost a doubling compared to the same period last year. BITKOM estimates that until late April, about 1.5 million integrated TV sets were sold, bringing the total to around 3,4 million,

According to BITKOM, around 17 million German households receive television via satellite. At the end of 2011 about 1.8 million households were still not converted to digital reception, but given the recent sales figures the association expects most people will have turned to digital before the analogue switch-off.

German private and public broadcasters are taking advantage of the freed satellite capacity to launch more HD channels. The public broadcasters ARD and ZDF will start HD versions of no less than 10 channels from May 1. RTL is also adding an HD version of Super RTL and more are expected to follow.