Orange DTH: no dishes supplied

France Télécom’s Orange unit will launch its DTH pay-TV service on July 3, but prospective subscribers will need to either already have a satellite dish installed or must organise their own purchase and installation.

The Orange DTH service expands the company's triple play offering to cover over 98% of French homes. Until now, IPTV technology only enabled half of France’s homes to access Orange’s TV offer.

Under the new system, customers will either be equipped with Orange TV via ADSL or an installation combining ADSL and satellite reception. Those taking up the DTH offer will have access to over 60 free channels, as well as seven packages of optional channels. Orange said that the entire offer, including interactive services, VOD and TV on demand, which are already accessible to customers via ADSL, will be gradually extended to customers of the combined offer.

But Orange TV will not be supplying all the necessary equipment to subscribers. Those without dishes will be “put in contact with an aerial technician” to install a satellite dish or redirect one that is not pointed at the broadcasting satellites. Subscribers already equipped with a satellite dish directed towards either of the satellites Orange TV will broadcast from (Hot Bird at 13 degrees east or Atlantic Bird 3 at 5 degrees west) will receive just the combined ADSL/satellite set-top box.

Orange’s IPTV offering had nearly 1.3 million subscribers at the end of March 2008. The company said it was “responding to the changing expectations of its customers which involves the individualisation of consumption, the quest for quality thanks to high definition and the improvement of networks (pre-deployement of fibre optic and mobile broadband), consumption in mobility, continuity or the possibility of watching a programme at any time and at your own pace (VOD and ‘TV on demand’ or catch-up TV) and, finally, the richness of the offer.”