French terrestrial HD goes live today

French terrestrial HD broadcasts will go live today at 3.30 pm (CET). The official launch will take place in the presence of Christine Albanel (minister of culture and communication), Eric Besson (secretary of state) and Michel Boyon (president of the CSA).

The HD bouquet consists of the free-to-air channels TF1 HD, France 2 HD, Arte HD and M6 HD and the premium (encrypted) channel Canal+ HD. The various channels will run special promotional programming touting the advantages of HD broadcasts in the hours preceding the official launch.

Twenty seven transmitters, covering 40% of the metropolitan population, are already on air. By May 31, 2009, new transmitters should reach more than 60% of the population with terrestrial HD broadcasts.

Viewers need an HD capable receiver suitable for MPEG-4.