ARD offers HDTV for Christmas

German public broadcaster ARD will offer further test transmissions in HDTV over Christmas, with programming from Einsfestival.

From December 22 until January 1 programmes of digital cultural channel EinsFestival will be screened in parallel in standard as well as high definition via Astra (19.2į East) and on selected cable networks. Over the 11 day period more than 120 HDTV productions comprising almost 180 broadcasting hours will be shown, including feature films, documentaries and music concerts.

The offer will include the prize winning German-American film Luther (2003) with Joseph Fiennes, Peter Ustinov and Uwe Ochsenknecht, road movie The Motorcycle Diaries (2004) about Che Guevara, all 11 episodes of BBC production Planet Earth and this yearís Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra Christmas concert.

EinsFestival HD will be screened free-to-air on Astra, frequency 12.422 GHz H (SR 27,500, FEC 3/4). It will be ARDís fourth HDTV presentation, with plans next year to screen showcases for the World Championships in Athletics in Berlin, consumer electronics fair Internationale Funkausstellung and again at Christmas. ARD and fellow public broadcaster ZDF are planning regular HDTV transmissions in time for the Winter Olympics in February 2010.