HD DTT kicks off on Oct 30

French free digital terrestrial TV will be enriched on October 30th with the launch of new HD channels. TF1, Fr 2 and M6 will go live on Oct 30. M6 says some 30% of its 4pm-midnight output will be in HD, expanding to 80% by 2012.

Challenged by new entrants into this market such as TMC, W9 or Gulli, the traditional network broadcasters intend to take advantage of the extra visual quality HD brings to images in order to hold onto existing viewers as well as attracting fresh audiences.

Amongst the 18 DTT channels already available, the five main networks TF1, France 2, Canal+, Arte and M6 are the only ones concerned with HD. However, the HD launch of the other channels will happen progressively over the coming years.

HDTV coverage of France is also being technically improved, with Arte and Canal Plusí HDTV versions now being broadcast over the whole DTT territory which covers 87% of the population.

TF1, France 2 and M6, in their HDTV versions, will progressively expand their reach to over 40% of the population initially and then reaching more than 60% in Franceís Phase 2 expansion plan which is due to start on May 2009. All networks are committed to reaching 95% of the metropolitan territory in their mid-term plans. © Rapid TV News 2008