IBC 2008 - AMSTERDAM. The satellite operator Eutelsat is claiming leadership in Europe with regards to distribution of HD channels. “At the moment we have 61 HD streams, ” said Matteo Altobelli, marketing manager Eutelsat, during an IBC press conference. “We have a market share of 45% of all HD streams on satellite compared with 42 HDS streams or 31% market share of Astra.”

Eutelsat carries HD streams on seven different orbital positions, with the 13 degrees East Hotbird position being the number one with 22 streams for Sky Italia, the Swiss public broadcaster SRG/SRR and the Polish DTH platforms Cyfra+ and n.

Massimo Bertollotti from Sky Italia told the audience the pay-TV operator has changed its HD marketing effort. “We now offer HD for free to all our subscribers who take at least two packs.” Before the summer, Sky Italia also increased its offer of HD channels with the addition of Sky Sports HD2 and Eurosport HD.

Already on air were Sky Sport HD1, Sky Cinema HD, National Geographic HD and Next TV, a general entertainment and documentary channel developed by Fox Television. The HD offer includes the MySkyHD PVR receiver with dual tuner.

Most recently, Sky Italia also launched an HD demo channel, said Bertollotti, “so people in the shops are now able to see real live HD broadcasts rather than a Blu-ray disk.” The channel is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.