Dutch PSBs extend satellite contract

By Robert Briel | June 4, 2009

NPO, the umbrella organisation of the Dutch public broadcasters, has renewed the satellite distribution contract with Canal Digitaal Satelliet (CDS) for a further four years.

Following a public tender, the NPO has chosen CDS to continue offering the free-to-view service to Dutch DTH homes. The new contract runs for four years with an option to extend the agreement.

CDS will continue to handle the smart card handling, distribution and management. There is no subscription cost involved for the viewers.

The public broadcasters are paying for the distribution of the three national channels, but a spokesperson for the NPO said to local press that it will not pay for any future HD broadcasts on satellite, who are scheduled to begin before the end of the year.

Originally, a Q1 launch of HD simulcasts for cable was announced, but hick-ups in building the technical infrastructure have delayed the process for the time being with no official time-table announced. The NPO, however, now expects the HD versions to be available before year end.

The NPO also said it will use 1080i for its HD broadcasts.