RTL to test pay-TV for Stuttgart launch

The RTL Group will use MPEG-4 as the transmission standard for its Stuttgart launch. In addition to the free-to-air channels, two low pay channels from the RTL Group, RTL Crime and RTL Passion, will be offered free-to-view for a period of twelve months. After this grace period, the broadcaster plans to charge a monthly €2.90 subscription fee.

The media authority for the German state of Baden-Württemberg, the Landesanstalt für Kommunikation Baden-Württemberg (LFK), has confirmed the launch of the channels RTL, Vox, Super RTL and RTL 2 on the DTT platform in the region of Stuttgart. The authority also said RTL will use MPEG-4 for its broadcasts in the region, which has a potential of 1.6 million households. Transmissions are due to start in the third quarter of the year.

Current DVB-T receivers will not be able to receive the RTL channels and need to buy a new MPEG-4 receiver. Because of the inclusion of the two pay channels, the new receivers will also incorporate a Conax smart card reader for the RTL pay channels. The subscription and smart card management of the RTL pay channels will be handled by Eutelsat Visavision GmbH.

At the same time, the RTL Group has extended its current DVB-T distribution contract with Media Broadcast for the other regions until 2014. There will be no changes in the current MPEG2 transmission standard.