RTL to support DVB-T2 transition in Germany

June 3, 2014 09.53 Europe/London By Jörn Krieger

Hamburg Rosengarten Sendeturm (Media Broadcast)German commercial broadcast group RTL Deutschland wants to maintain digital terrestrial TV distribution in Germany and transmit its free-to-air channels in HD quality from 2016 with the introduction of DVB-T2.

The DTT contract with transmitter network operator Media Broadcast which would have run out at the end of 2014 has been extended by two years, the broadcaster announced in Cologne. RTL, VOX, Super RTL and RTL II as well as n-tv in Berlin will thus continue to be available via DVB-T in standard definition (SD) until the end of 2016.

With the nationwide DVB-T2 platform planned by Media Broadcast, RTL sees for the first time a viable commercial business model for DTT. According to the broadcaster, the target is to offer its advertising-funded channels encrypted in HD quality to DTT households in future. For a binding commitment to DVB-T2, however, several framework conditions still have to be met, stresses RTL.

DVB-T2 new (October 2010)“We are working with all TV broadcasters to promote the implementation of DVB-T2 and would like to offer viewers an even broader range of channels in HD quality from as early as 2016,” said Wolfgang Breuer, CEO of Media Broadcast. “It’s good to know that Mediengruppe RTL is on board with its attractive channel family.”

Excluded from the continuation of its DTT engagement are the terrestrial TV offerings in the regions Stuttgart and Halle/Leipzig which are operated under the brand name viseo+ in another technology, according to RTL group.

In early 2013, RTL group announced its nationwide retreat from DTT by the end of 2014 as there would neither be sufficient prospects for economic success nor long-term security for the frequencies. At the end of 2013, the broadcaster revoked its decision as the new German government included a notice of intention in its coalition agreement to safeguard the frequencies for broadcast usage for the transition to DVB-T2.

German public broadcasters ARD and ZDF announced in autumn 2013 their support for a transition to DVB-T2. Commercial TV group ProSiebenSat.1 is also open towards DVB-T, but expects clear political commitment regarding the preservation of the frequencies for broadcast usage instead of handing them over to mobile network operators.

DVB-T2 enables better picture quality, more channels and HDTV via digital terrestrial frequencies, but viewers need new reception devices.