RTL launches on new German HD+ platform

By Robert Briel | June 5, 2009

SES Astra will launch a new platform for HD broadcasters to be called HD+.
RTL will be the first broadcaster to launch with HD version of RTL and Vox. The channels of the HD+ platform will be encrypted and a smart card is needed for reception. They will transmit in MPEG4 using 1080i.
The satellite operator has not yet named a launch date, but said it will be later this year, “late in the autumn.”

The HD+ platform will be managed by SES-Astra and use the Astra position at 19.2 degrees East. The satellite operator will also manage encryption and smart card distribution.
As a launching broadcaster, RTL Deutschland has leased long term capacity on the satellite. The operator said it is also talking to other potential customers of the new platform, which will be open to all broadcasters.

In a way, HD+ marks the re-birth of an old concept, that of the short-lived Entavio. It is not known if reception of the channels on HD+ will require a subscription or a one-time smart card and activation fees.
“The new service creates an attractive added value for viewers,” said Wilfried Urner, CEO of the new subsidiary Astra HD Plus in Unterfoehring near Munich, in a statement.

“HD is razor-sharp images in vivid colours and unique brilliance and is the driving force for the change of TV households to digital reception. With HD +, we will be opportunities for growth in the television field and the expanding HD programming choices for viewers enlarge. This creates a new basis for the reception of high-quality HD programming. “