New global classical HDTV channel

German TV production and distribution company Unitel Classica, specialising in classical music, is planning to launch a global high definition TV channel.
“We are preparing a classical music channel in HDTV,” said managing director Jan Mojto. The channel will be distributed as an international pay-TV offer, with negotiations with platform operators currently taking place. The German launch is envisioned for the fourth quarter and afterwards the company will eye the American market, where a programme window on a free-to-air broadcaster would be a possibility, said Mojto. He explained that in America, as opposed to the German-speaking market, classical music on television is in very short supply.

Unitel is currently transmitting classical concerts in high definition via Astra (19.2° East) in collaboration with satellite operator SES Astra. As part of the Festivalsommer der Klassik (Festival summer of classics) music fans can view seven hours of productions from this year’s Salzburg Festival, the Valencia Opera House and other music events each evening from 7pm in HD quality with Dolby Digital surround sound. Programmes will run until the end of September unencrypted on the SES Astra’s HD demonstration channel.

Unitel already operates Classica, a pay-TV music channel for opera and classical music fans in standard definition, which can be received in Germany and Austria via pay-TV platform Premiere as well as in Italy, Spain and Japan.